Pundit Analyses Reasons Why Young People Shun Agriculture

A nagropreneur and founder of Abria Agribusiness Support Initiative, Mosunmola Umoru, has highlighted major reasons why the agricultural sector of the nation cannot boast of many youths engaging in it.

Top on the list, according to her, is lack of access to land and funds.

Umoru agreed that “the barrier to entry can be high. In some instances, access to land, access to finance, lack of collateral actually inhibits a lot of young people from getting engaged in the sector.”

Speaking on Channels Television’s business programme, Business Morning, on Monday, she stated that Nigerian youths “aren’t even seeing the potentials within the sector” which laid the foundation for her initiative.

Also, the mind set of agriculture from the “primary production aspect” where they have to use basic tools to farm is one of the major deterrents for the younger generation.

This is a source of concern for the federal government, which has embarked on a mission to diversify the nation’s economy and put an end to the great dependence on crude oil. President Goodluck Jonathan also lunched the Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme at the recently concluded 19th Economic Summit, which held in Abuja.

“There’s a huge burden to actually see more young people come into the sector” which is dominated by citizens in the 50 to 65 age bracket, Umoru said, adding that “a lot of the limitations that young people would usually encounter if they want to venture in agro business is going to be tackled”.

The Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme will create low cost funding for young people in agriculture. The programme will also incubate agro-business clubs in institutions of agriculture, as a means to encourage students to venture into the sector.

She further commended the Federal Government for the Agricultural Transformation Agenda which she described as a timely move in the right direction.

“It’s important for the federal government to be actively involved in charting the course to diversify the economy” as no nation can survive based on the importation on food.

Although the agriculture sector guarantees increase in economy and has huge potentials to create jobs for the unemployed youths, issues such as underutilised land, irrigation, water management have to be tackled so the sector can guarantee food security for the nation.

Agriculture Can Make You Have Your Own Private Jet – Jonathan Tells Young Farmers

President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria while addressing the 19th Nigerian Economic Summit, on Tuesday, encouraged youths of the nation to participate in the agricultural sector which can help them become private jet owners.

The President commended the youth who are now shifting away from the mindset that agriculture is a “simple poverty-alleviation programme” and encouraged them “to begin to think that agriculture can make you have your own private jet.”

The economic summit, which provides an opportunity to discuss issues with a view to providing practical solutions, is organised by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, National Planning Commission and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The summit is also the “foremost platform for dialogue between the public and private sectors,” for which the President thanked the organisers, for ensuring consistency for the annual event.

In his address, the President stated that the summit is coming at a critical time in the nation’s political history, following the launch of his administration’s mid-term report on the transformation agenda, on May 29th.

He stressed the government’s determination to “lay a solid foundation for the transformation of the country’s agricultural sector for enhanced growth and development”.

“The country is more determined than ever to unlock the great potentials of agriculture in order to ensure food security, create jobs and generate wealth,” he said, adding that it is “part of our continued effort to demonstrate our drive and commitment to work with the private sector to make agriculture once again, the main stay of our economy”.

This year’s summit focuses on the agricultural sector, which the President said he is not totally in agreement with because “you cannot discuss agriculture without discussing land. You cannot discuss agriculture without talking about farm managers, agronomists, agric engineers and agric economists, and that is education.”

He highlighted other sectors of the economy such as transportation, trade, finance and petroleum.

He also expressed satisfaction in the participation of middle class citizens adding that the involvement of the middle class signals the “beginning of a proper revolution”.

The 19th Nigerian Economic Summit currently on-going, is the third in the Goodluck Jonathan administration.

The event which is broadcast by Channels Television in Abuja has members of the National Assembly, Federal Executive Council, Members of the Economic Summit Group, Captains of industries and other guests in attendance.