Experts in the agricultural sector have urged the Federal and State Governments to project successful stories of agripreneurs to encourage other youths into agriculture and agribusiness in the country.
The experts, who spoke with BusinessDay, said that government at all levels are 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 ffrom telling the success stories of agripreneurs, youth would find agriculture attractive when the sector becomes mechanised.
“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.
Sani Dangote, vice president, Dangote Industries and president Nigeria Agribusiness Group (NABG), said that youth would only find agriculture attractive when it becomes a business that is profitable and when the country is able to move away from subsistence to commercial agriculture.
“A lot of farmers are still entangled in poverty as a result of low productivity despite the volume of time they spend on their farmlands. How can the youth go into agriculture when its entrenched in poverty? And this is why NABG is advocating for a revolutionised agric sector by changing the practice,” Dangote said in an exclusive interview with BusinessDay.
“A larger scale of youth will only find agric attractive when the government develops mechanisation and gives youths access to land. With this, agric becomes attractive for youths as a profession,” the NABG president added.