Nigerian youth are usually not interested in agriculture due to their perception of farming being old-fashioned and unprofitable.
The National Coordinator of the Nigerian Young Farmers Network (NYFN), Mr Promise Amahah, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday.
He stated that the youth also felt about usual narrative that agriculture was a long-term venture which he said was a factor for youth apathy in the sector.
He said his Network was working to change that narrative, generate sufficient awareness and information on modern agribusiness and dynamic scope which provided quick wins, short and long term benefits.
The coordinator noted that the response had been quite impressive as membership of NYFN was rapidly growing daily and coordinated seamlessly by local coordinators who basically communicate and drive their Gather, Equip, Activate and Release (GEAR) strategy.
“Through our GEAR strategy, the youth are exposed to modern technology and trends in Agribusiness across the value chain. They are connected to value added services and relevant stakeholders.
“NYFN provides the youth a one-stop-shop for information and direction. Even without any knowledge of agribusiness, the Network takes you on an exciting journey on the opportunities and prospects available in and within the sector.
“You don’t need to be a farmer to become a member, we welcome membership from all works of life and diversity is our strength. We embrace a cross-cutting relationship between agriculture and other disciplines, making it easy for young people to find their place and passion within the network.
“As popularly said and hardly applied, Government has no business in business. Government role should be to provide enabling environment, incentives, and all round support. To reverse the ugly trend of youth apathy in agriculture, government should collaborate and partner with youth network like ours to accelerate development in the sector.
“Government should pay more attention to pro-youth policies in agriculture and invest more in providing infrastructural support such as access roads to farms and power. Authentic Data based budget planning by Government is also essential.
“There is no better time to get it right than during this pandemic because the crisis has thrown up immeasurable opportunities for backward integration and import substitution.
“NYFN engagement in government initiatives such as the anchor borrowers program of the CBN, agro industrial zones development by the African Development Bank, will drastically reset Nigeria’s non-oil sector.
“Currently, countries are cutting off food exports due to this pandemic and this is our chance to take full advantage of our demographic dividend.
“Our youthful energy needs to be channeled into modern research and innovation, reverse engineering, train-the-trainer programmes, value chain based Agribusiness and Value Added Services” he explained.
Amahah added that COVID-19 pandemic had given Nigeria a rare chance to become food secured nation and once again major exporter of food and food related technologies globally. (NAN)