The Youth Programme on Agriculture and Entrepreneurship Development in Nigeria (YPAED) has called for improved financial services and accessible loans for youths willing to go into agri-businesses.
Mr Adams Eloyi, the Executive Director of the YPAED, made the call in an interview with newsmen in Abuja.
Eloyi listed inaccessible funds, inadequate integration throughout the agriculture value chain and high cost of agriculture equipment as key factors hindering youths from agriculture.
According to him, others include poor knowledge and access to new agricultural technologies, market saturation during harvest period leading to low prices, poor road network and non-functional irrigation facilities.
Eloyi urged all government agencies to increase efforts at ensuring that all infrastructure needed to enhance the production and export of crops were prioritised to lure youths to the sector.
“The agriculture finance strategy of government needs to be reinvigorated, made more effective and youth friendly.
“For instance, funds earmarked through the Incentive-based Risk Sharing for Agriculture Lending (NIRSAL) should be made readily available to young farmers.
“We also need start-up capital in form of soft loans by government and Non-Governmental Organisations to encourage youth participation in agriculture,” he said.
Eloyi also suggested the use of alternative forms of collateral such as warehousing receipts and future harvest potential to ease access to credit.
He urged all levels of government to target young farmers in its Agricultural Transformation Agenda and ensure they benefited maximally from the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme input subsidy.
He called for a more effective and responsive agriculture insurance policy as an assurance for young investors in the event of any insurable loss including drought, flood or fire.
According to him, if government and stakeholders devote the needed commitment to the implementation of youth-friendly regulatory and policy reforms, youth will be ready to go into farming.
The reports state that the Youth Programme on Agriculture and Entrepreneurship Development in Nigeria is an initiative of Rural Youth Advocate for Health and Development in Nigeria (RYAN) and the National Alliance against Hunger and Malnutrition (NAAHM).
The organisation’s objective is to help states reach a higher path of economic growth through youth agricultural entrepreneurship-led development.