MS Nnaemego Nkiruka, the coordinator, Fresh and Young Brains Development Initiative (FBIN), an NGO, has urged youths to engage in agricultural activities to address the nation’s unemployment challenges.
Nkiruka stated this in Abuja on Thursday in an interview with newsmen
She said the youth would do well in the production of food and livestock for local consumption and export.
The coordinator said that most Nigerian farmers were ageing and needed to be replaced with young and vibrant farming groups.
She explained that Nigerian youths were energetic, creative and strong enough to tap into the huge job opportunities in the agriculture sector.
“Available statistics show that the average age of the Nigerian farmer is from 47 years with an average life expectancy of 50 years.
“Although no precise figures are available, there can be no doubt that unemployment among young men and women in Nigeria has reached alarming levels.
“The agriculture finance strategy of government needs to be reinvigorated and made more effective and youth-friendly.
“The ever growing number of jobless youth, and the desperation that accompanies it, undermines development in the country,” she said.
She revealed that the main goal of the NGO was to involve youths in “a higher path of economic growth and entrepreneurship development.
“The NGO is partnering with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development and Africa Youth Initiative on Climate Change (AYICC) to see that this dream become a reality.
“The project plans to establish and promote at least 10,000 youth-led farms and agribusinesses across Africa by 2020, as well as highlight the benefits of farming for youth development and sustainable livelihoods.“
She said that the NGO intended to eliminate hunger, create employment, and reduce poverty, food and nutrition insecurity as well as expand exports of agricultural commodities.
While explaining the benefits of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA), Nkiruka said that opportunities were available in the various crop value chains.
She added that before ATA, the country had low productivity and was a net importer of food but its agriculture sector was now changing for the better.
“The entry of a large number of young entrepreneurs into the sector will accelerate the pace while a youth-friendly environment is needed to attract them into the sector, “ she said.
She urged the government to redouble its effort through the ATA with special focus on removing constraints related to access to credit, land, fertilizer and other inputs.