CHARLES MADUABUEKE writes about problems that deny the participation of young people in agriculture and the need to stimulate their interest in this sector.
Studies have shown that agribusiness is one of the most effective tools for combating poverty, food shortages, hunger and unemployment. More than half of the population of Nigeria is estimated to be young, and, unfortunately, only a few see the future in agriculture, since most young people are not inclined to agriculture.
The agronomist, Dorcas Abimbola Omole, said that "Nigeria's bulk food is produced by aging farmers who are less likely to adopt new technologies needed to sustainably increase agricultural productivity, protect the environment and, ultimately, feed the world's growing population." Some young people who are currently involved in agribusiness say that illiteracy, lack of basic amenities, disorientation of society and the media, among other things, are problems that should be addressed if young people are involved in the sector.
The chain catalyst in YPARD Nigeria, Mr. John Agbula, said that "the young people are not sure whether agribusiness can provide a steady stream of income compared to profitable white-collar jobs, and we tend to blame public disorientation." In the past, he said: it was possible to identify and identify a farmer only through poverty, carrying corn / hoe, a basket of food and sometimes wood at the back of the bicycle. Thus, the mentality of youth in relation to agriculture is formed with the image of agriculture as a "poor and dirty career path."
In addition to this, Samson Ogbole, co-founder of PS Nutraceuticals Int. Ltd, explaining the reasons for young people's inclination to agriculture, said that agriculture was once the basis of the economy. Then came the oil era, and then the banking and telecommunications industry. The latter sectors provided better livelihoods and because of a lack of innovation in agribusiness, interest was lost in this sector.
Access to information, knowledge and education
The information available in most quarters incorrectly portrays agriculture as a work for the unfortunate, downtrodden and those who have informal education. Home movies defended this deception by abandoning farmers as poor, thereby preventing young people from embracing agribusiness.
Omole suggested that lack of access to knowledge can impede the development of necessary skills in order to maximize profitability in agribusiness. Consequently, training is required so that young people can respond to the needs of the modern agricultural sector. "We need to improve the access of young rural women to education and include appropriate agricultural skills to increase productivity," she said.
Limited access to land
ACCESS to the land is fundamental to the launch of the farm, and it is often difficult for young people to acquire it. Legislation on inheritance and customs in developing countries, the agronomist said, often makes the problem of transferring land to young farmers problematic and, therefore, extremely necessary amendment. Therefore, community, state and national structures should be established through which young people can access land for agricultural purposes.
Bad access to financial services
MOST's financial services providers are reluctant to provide credit services to youth due to lack of collateral, financial literacy and, among other reasons, Omole added. "Promoting financial products and opportunities for young people to start funding, organizing mentoring programs and encouraging young people to help address these problems," she said.
Non-inclusive agricultural policy
Politicians of the AGRIC, Omole said, often do not take into account the heterogeneity of young people and therefore do not provide them with effective tools and support. She said that the opinion of young people is not heard and not in demand in the process of making political decisions, so their complex needs are not included. She advocated that policymakers require a consistent response to ensure that the main problems facing young people are addressed and that young people should participate in policy development.
Limited availability in the market
According to Omole, market availability is becoming more complex due to the growing influence of supermarkets and the stringent conditions of their supply chains, as well as the exorbitant transportation costs for the harvest. The agonist lamented that over-saturation becomes a difficult task for farmers, and without a viable market, young people will not be able to support production.
"The lack of storage and processing facilities are other problems that must also be addressed," she added. Mr. Agbula added: "The high cost of inputs and equipment, the lack of infrastructure, climate change and environmental problems, limited support from the government and other stakeholders also need to be addressed." Agriculture is associated with risks, but Omole said: "Youth-oriented projects and programs can be effective in providing youth with the additional impetus needed to enter the agricultural sector and ultimately address the significant untapped potential of this significant and growing demographic."
To reduce the high level of unemployment among young people in the country, Agbula invited agribusiness to attract young people to create jobs, saying that young people need to report that cash in cashews and, therefore, a steady income in agriculture. Therefore, he advised: "To attract young people, the first step is re-branding and the attractiveness of agriculture."
Mr. Ogbole said that relevant stakeholders need to play a key role in rethinking the image of agriculture, as young people are now considering agribusiness as primitive, tedious and devoid of modern technologies. It should be that agribusiness is represented as one that shows the promise to give young people the life that they desire.
Young people embracing the opportunities that agriculture is experiencing now, say Agbula, and young people like him, are increasingly talking about why agriculture is the golden geese.
Agronomist also said: "There are cases when entrepreneurs successfully cut out a niche for themselves in agribusiness, also helping local farmers to enter the world markets, creating jobs for other people." Omole added that "with the advent of new technologies, mechanization and ICT, agriculture has become a profitable profession for young people because of their desire to integrate technology and innovation in this sector to ensure future growth."
Involving young people in agriculture
GLOBALLY, the attitude towards agriculture is changing rapidly, and Nigeria needs to move in this direction. Promoting the participation of young people in agriculture can lead to widespread poverty reduction in rural areas. And to the extent that there are problems, young agents-agents should see barriers in the process of training and should use all means to overcome them.
Indeed, agriculture provides a viable way for young people to succeed, and coordinated efforts to increase youth participation in this sector are now more important, as a growing national population and a decline in agricultural productivity mean that endemic hunger is inevitable. " In order to maintain the food system, we need smart and energetic young people so that they take precedence over the elderly farmers, "Ogbole said. The concept of agriculture, which is a dirty work, must change, and therefore various stakeholders, especially the government, private sector operators and interested stakeholders should highlight the passion for agribusiness among young people. "
Young farmers encourage young people by creating mobile objects for crowdfunding, instructing newcomers on how to grow high-value crops, keeping and raising livestock for commercial purposes, and the importance of scouting and exploiting the value chain is hammered. " Investing in agriculture is not easy but with patience, it is a worthy decision, as well as investment, "Agbula added.