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Celebrate agripreneurs to attract more youths, experts tell FG

Celebrate agripreneurs to attract more youths, experts tell FG

Experts in the agricultural sector have urged the Federal and State Governments to project successful stories of agripreneurs to encourage more youths into agriculture and agribusiness in the country.

The experts, who spoke with BusinessDay, said that government at all levels is in the best position to stimulate agricultural revival in the country and make the sector attractive to the younger generation.

Despite the country’s population growing rapidly, food production is not growing at same pace, as youths are unwilling to take up careers in agriculture.

The population of farmers in the country has been on the downward trend due to old age and death, making it imperative for the sector attract youths.

“We need to project the success stories of agripreneurs to attract youths into the sector, while providing the vital infrastructure to aid production,” said AfricanFarmer Mogaji, chief executive officer, X-Ray Consulting.

“Agriculture is a serious business and it needs to be treated as such. The government needs to make certain commitments in the area of infrastructure, Mogaji said.

He stated that the provision of critical infrastructures would help the youths shift focus from white-collar jobs into agriculture, agribusiness as well as address the issues of rural-urban migration.

Also speaking to BusinessDay in a telephone interview, Abiodun Olorundenro, manager, Aquashoot, said that apart from telling the success stories of agripreneurs, youth would find agriculture attractive when the sector becomes mechanised.

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“Apart from various agripreneurs success stories, youth will also find agriculture attractive when there is innovation.

“Currently, our agriculture is still involved in a lot of drudgery and this would make it become unattractive to the youths. The average Nigerian youths wants to be involved in a profession were they see others there making it financially and that involves innovation,” Olorundenro said.

He urged the government to provide tractors for farmers and other infrastructures that would help reduce production cost, thereby making agriculture profitable to impact farmers’ livelihoods.

Over 105 million Nigerians still live in extreme poverty, according to data from the World Poverty Clock of the Brookings Institute. The World Bank recently projected that the accelerating inflation will push an additional 7 million into poverty by the end of 2022 in its report ‘The Continuing Urgency of Business Unusual.’

This coincides with a period of 56 percent unemployment and underemployment, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), with 14 million jobless youths agitating for a better life.

While it would appear that the economy has improved, culminating in a 3.54 percent growth in the second quarter of 2022, most of it is elusive. It is eluding a vast majority of Nigerians and has not been able to reduce poverty or lead to the creation of sufficient jobs for its rapidly growing population.

“We need to constantly tell the success stories in agriculture to make it attractive for youths and not only the negative stories,” said Mohammed Idris an aggregator of cashew, cocoa and sesame.

“Youth accounts for larger proportions of our population and if we have 20percent of that population in agriculture we would be able to feed ourselves because they will bring technology and innovation into the sector.”