Across Nigeria, food production is low and post-harvest losses are high, primarily due to a lack of value addition and best post-harvest handling practices.
However, given the diverse potentials of Nigerian agriculture, there is no doubt that the Nation has the right resources and comparative advantage to scale-up production and move away from primary production to higher-value finished goods.
Such a transition would fetch greater returns on the market and create employment opportunities across the value chain.
Youth Agribusiness challenge contest will impact positively to our growing economy because Agriculture is now the future and the cornerstone of our economy.
Youth Agribusiness Challenge competition will identify innovations and ideas that address the critical challenges affecting the Agricultural value chains and the digital needs of the entire agricultural value chain in Nigeria.
“Digital technologies have the potential to transform the agricultural sector. We are confident that a focus on digital solutions among youth in this regard will help to boost Nigerian’s future food security and create jobs across the agricultural value chain”.
Disseminating agricultural innovations are essential to increase productivity and profitability of smallholder farmers.
By strengthening the private sector, up- and downstream enterprises, and promoting entrepreneurship directed towards challenges of the agricultural sector, the service provision for smallholder farmers can be improved through this contest.
The nation’s future depends on the youth and they play an important role for the development of the country. If youths are outside of the workplace, it leads negative trend to the country’s economy.
For millions of young people around the nation, finding a decent job is still a drawn-out uphill struggle. Almost half of Nigerian youth labour force is still either unemployed or working yet living in poverty.
Moreover, global youth unemployment rate is increasing and they need job creations by business organisations.
Government also needs to support the youth with proper facilities for getting equipped with the knowledge of the modern world.
They can establish nation into a better place. However, government’s support programmes like youth Agribusiness Challenge can go a long way bring out the best in our youths, creates jobs, food security, at long run a better economy.
However, given that agriculture is one of the nation’s biggest economic sectors, generating broad economic development and providing much of the population with food, this poses a serious threat to the future of farming and to meeting the demands of a rapidly growing urban population.
Growing youth unemployment, ageing farmers and declining crop yields under traditional farming systems mean engaging youth in agriculture should be a priority.
Youth agribusiness challenge contest will be the easy link and will make agriculture attractive for younger generations and it will bring in the following: –
• It will link agriculture to social media: The rise of social media and its attraction among young people with access to the appropriate technologies could be a route into agriculture if the two could be linked in some way.
Mobile phone use in Nigeria is growing rapidly and people are now much more connected to sources of information and each other.
Utilising these channels to promote agriculture and educate young people could go a long way in engaging new groups of people into the sector.
• Improve agriculture’s image: Farming is rarely portrayed in the media as a young person’s game and can be seen as outdated, unprofitable and hard work.
Greater awareness of the benefits of agriculture as a career needs to be built amongst young people, in particular opportunities for greater market engagement, innovation and farming as a business.
The media, ICT and social media can all be used to help better agriculture’s image across a broad audience and allow for sharing of information and experiences between young people and young farmers.
• Strengthen higher education in agriculture: Relatively few students choose to study agriculture, perhaps in part because the quality of agricultural training is mixed.
Taught materials need to be linked to advances in technology, facilitate innovation and have greater relevance to a diverse and evolving agricultural sector, with a focus on agribusiness and entrepreneurship.
Beyond technical skills, building capacity for management, decision-making, communication and leadership should also be central to higher education.
Reforms to agricultural tertiary education should be designed for young people and as such the process requires their direct engagement.
• Greater use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT): Not only can ICT be used to educate and train those unable to attend higher education institutions, but it can be used as a tool to help young people spread knowledge, build networks, and find employment.
Catering to a technologically savvy generation will require technological solutions. Such technologies can also reduce the costs of business transactions, increasing agriculture’s profitability.
• It will give room for Empower young people to speak up: I f w e a r e t o enable youth to transform agriculture then the barriers to their engagement, such as access to land and finance, need to be addressed.
National policies on farming and food security need to identify and address issues facing young people. As such youth need to become part of policy discussions at the local and national levels, whether as part of local development meetings, advisory groups or on boards or committees.
• It will Facilitate access to land and credit: Land is often scarce and difficult to access for young people, and without collateral getting credit to buy land is nigh on impossible.
Innovative financing for agriculture and small businesses is needed. For example, soft loans provided to youth who come up with innovative proposals in agriculture or micro franchising.
This project if encouraged aims to create sustainable employment for the rural youth through active engagement in agribusiness for wealth creation and poverty reduction.
More specifically, it will build entrepreneurship capacity for youths in different agricultural sector in Nigeria.
In conclusion, it can be called PMB Youth Agribusiness Challenge Contest, NASS Youth Agribusiness Challenge Contest, CBN Youth Agribusiness Challenge Contest, Nija Youth Agribusiness Youth Challenge Contest.