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Experts urge youths to leverage opportunities in agric value chains

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In a bid to tackle the high unemployment rate in the country, experts have urged youths to leverage opportunities in the various agricultural value chains to create jobs for themselves and others.

The experts, who spoke during the Agro Money Conference, organised by Cash Your Passion Africa, expressed optimism that the country can create jobs through the sector if value chain opportunities are tapped.

“Nigeria’s agriculture is evolving and lots of opportunities across the value chain are being created that need to be leveraged,” Babatope Dare, executive director, Inlaks said.

“In the area of technology, youths can provide services that meet the needs of players in the sector,” Dare said.

He stated that the sector has huge potential and that the future remains the main force in social and economic transformation of the economy.

Lynda Omerekpe founder and CEO of Cash Passion, Africa and convener of the Agro Money Conference, said that the initiative is to foster empowerment for young people through agriculture.

She stated that the initiative is helping youths identify the opportunities across various value chains and training them in agriculture, as well as mentoring them.

According to her, the goal of the conference and agric start-up pitched competition was to support the next generation of agribusiness professionals to create jobs, thereby addressing the unemployment challenges in the country.

The pitched competition had three agropreneurs who were finanlists pitch their businesses for grant price to scale up.

The pitched competition was won by Krixto Bax Limited, a start-up in the aquaculture industry.

Also speaking during the event, Onyeka Akuma, founder and chief executive officer, Framcrowdy said that with collaboration, farmers will be empowered to boost their productivity.

Akuma urged youths to take advantage of the opportunities across the value chains by addressing challenges limiting players in the sector.

“We need to start creating solutions to the problems other people complain about,” Akuma said.

Bridget Okonofua, president, Unique Women In Agriculture Cluster Initiative (UWIACI) said that since agriculture is becoming more vibrant, technology and innovation are inevitable.

“If we do not get into smart farming through the adoption of agriculture, we will not attain our food security target,” Okonofua said.

Speaking on how farmers can leverage finance, Gbenga Awe, group head-agric finance, Heritage Bank Plc said that lack of technology has made it complex for financial institutions to properly evaluate production, thereby making it difficult for banks to finance smallholder farmers in the country.

 

Josephine Okojie

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