• Friday, June 21, 2024
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Success stories of agripreneurs can encourage youths into agric- experts



Experts in the agricultural sector have urged both the Federal and State Government to project successful stories of agripreneurs to encourage youths into viable agriculture.
The experts, who spoke with BusinessDay, said that government at all levels are in the best position to stimulate agricultural revival in the country, which has been a great challenge.
The population of farmers in the country have been on the downward trend due to old age and death; this creates the need of getting youths into agriculture and other areas of the value chain.
“Project the young people who are already into agriculture by telling their success stories and give them necessary support to get better yields. They are more likely to be inspired by fellow young people,” said Japhet Omojuwa, co-founder, Caerphilly Farms.
“Agriculture is a serious business and not a charity, so if government wants to boost it, it must show certain commitments,” he said.
According to the experts, this will boost government efforts to shift focus of youths from white-collar jobs to agriculture, agribusiness as well as reduce rural-urban migration that increases poverty level in the country.
Sanni dangote, president, Nigeria Agribusiness Group and vice president, Dangote industries, said “Giving a group of youth’s money to go into agriculture will only make few to be successful, but if the government wants the larger number of youths to go into agriculture, the government must develop mechanisation.”
“Government needs to dialogue with the private sector to find ways on how to mechanise the rural farmers,” Dangote said.
Despite that Nigeria is blessed with arable land, the cultivation of food in Nigeria is generally very labour intensive, particularly with the small farm holders. The manual work embarked by farmers and their families is very strenuous and time consuming, which has also deterred youths from taking up farming as an occupation.
Available statistics show that Nigeria is one of the least mechanised farming countries in the world with the country’s tractor density put at 0.27 hp/ hectare which is far below the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)’s 1.5hp/hectare recommended tractor density for Africa and other developing countries.
In addressing problems around the country’s mechanisation, the experts call on the government to partner with the private sector to develop an all inclusive agric mechanisation policy.
“For youths to find agriculture attractive, the government needs to develop the agricultural mechanisation policy that will properly address all the issues related to machinery importation, local manufacturing, training, research and development, funding mechanisation activities from manufacture to the end user and easy access to mechanisation services,” said Elesa Yakubu is the national president of Tractor Owners and Operators Association of Nigeria (TOOAN).