• Friday, June 21, 2024
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BusinessDay

Organisations move to make agric attractive to youths with farmers club

Exclusive: Plateau farmers raise alarm over inadequate rainfall threatening crops yields

…seek adoption of smart technologies

In a move to make agriculture attractive to the younger population, the Sustainable Agro and Hunger Eradication (SAHE) Foundation and the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) are set to launch the Tech Young Farmers Club (TYFC) in secondary schools.

The programme which is aimed at building a generation of young farmers that are technologically driven is part of effort to mark the 2024 Children Day schedule to hold May 3rd at the University of Lagos, Akoka.

The programme themed ‘Becoming a Technology-Driven Farmer’ will have series of lectures and trainings on modern agricultural techniques.

Idongesit Mbaram, founder and CEO of SAHE Foundation, in a virtual event said that the foundation which started in 2017 has over time been able to establish its presence in secondary schools educating the students on the importance of agriculture and getting them to be in love with it early.

She said that the TYFC is an initiative which aims to mentor and empower young Nigerians with knowledge, skills, and resources needed to become future leaders in sustainable agricultural practices.

According to her, the goal is to demystify misconceptions about agriculture.

This she noted is done by identifying and erasing wrong ideologies and creating a mind reset by taking young people through a thought process that is deliberate, sincere, evidence based and intentionally targeted to interchange the wrong mindset and change the way agriculture is perceived.

“This initiative is the brainchild of SAHE Foundation, which is a dedicated advocacy platform for youth and women empowerment,” Mbaram said.

“SAHE’s mission is to alleviate hunger and promote sustainable agriculture by implementing innovative solutions, empowering communities, and advocating for policies that support food security and environmental stewardship.”

“The foundation will support schools and participating students with seedlings, branded sacks, and modern farming technique kits, among others.”

Also, Francis Toromade, director general of Premier Agribusiness Academy said no nation can survives without agriculture.

He said making the sector attractive to the young population is the best thing that can happen to the country, especially at a time when population is growing faster than food production.

“We don’t have any option in Nigeria except to go back to agriculture and technology must be the main driver,” he said.

“The moment we correct the mindset of our children, I can assure you it will reduce the number of people that want to go abroad,” he noted.

Toyin Adetunji, value chain specialist at the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) said that agriculture must be tech driven to boost productivity and attain food security.

“All over the world, agriculture is the engine of growth. People regard agriculture also as ensuring food sovereignty,” she said.

She noted that the country’s population rising faster than food production, making it difficult for the country to attain food security.

“We need to see how we increase productivity and we do that through the introduction of technology,” she stated.

“In the advance world they don’t plant large hectrage of land but the land that they plant they use technology to increase the yield per unit area and that is the work of technology,” Adetunji said.

She added that the nation should put technology in the hands of the youths.

Similarly, Olawumi Benedit of Grow Africa stressed the need to learn both the positive and negative side of technology.

“We don’t just have to take the technology hook, line and sinker; we need to look at how it works for us,” she noted.

“This is Africa and Nigeria, many things cannot work the same way because our temperature is not the same, our soil is not the same and the road network is not the same,” she said.

Also, Olaoye Abiola, chair of the learners activities committee, NAPPS Lagos, said that the TYFC is set to introduce modern farming techniques and technology to young adults from ages 12 and 16 within SS1 and SS3.”

“The students will be empowered with polished seeds that will be grown in their various schools in customized sacks and properly monitored and maintained.”

“This year’s Children’s Day celebration is aimed to help students see agriculture as a hunger eradicating tool by way of growing what they eat and making a living from it.”