The discussion on achieving sustainable agriculture in Nigeria would not be complete without the drive for youths to embrace agriculture as a business. This was the center of discussion at the event organized by the Young Professionals for Agricultural Development in Lagos, with some stakeholders in the agricultural sector and agripreneurs discussing on ”Enabling the Business of Agriculture: the Youth Perspective and your Organization”.
The main speaker at the event, Mr. Ogbole Samson, co-founder PS Nutraceutical Int. Ltd, gave some tips on how youths can be attracted into agriculture. He emphasized on the modernization of agriculture through the support of new technologies to attract the youths and citing the example of the United States with only about 10% of her population involved in agriculture and yet producing food in abundance; whereas in Nigeria the greater percentage of the population is involved in agriculture but with the lingering problem of food insecurity and post-harvest losses which discourages youth’s participation.
Furthermore, he mentioned examples on some current technologies in agriculture such as soiless technology in which crops are grown without soil and with a better yield; censor-smart technology in which plants can provide information on the needed nutrients that is lacking; and drone technology which can help in spraying amongst other features, and conclusively stating that these technologies provides precision agriculture for healthier and better yields.
The event also witnessed the agro-testimonials of young agripreneurs changing the agro sector positively; and sharing their stories on their journey so far in building their respective agribusinesses – Ms. Serah Odende, Co-founder African Harvesters Agribusiness Hub; Ms. Oyindamola Asaaju, Co-founder Farm Republic; Mr Adeniyi Adenuga of Tepebo International Limited, and Ms. Divine-Love Akam, Co-founder of E-Farms.
African Harvesters is an Agribusiness Hub for African Agricultural Stakeholders across the agric value chain (farm to table); Farm Republic provides farmers with market driven solutions and access to market for produce; Tepebo Int’l Ltd is a leading brand in aquaculture providing table size catfishes and healthy packaged smoked catfishes; E-farms is an agri-financing and agri-training online platform providing financial linkage between farm investors and smallholder farmers and empowering passionate youths with the practical skills and knowledge in building sustainable agribusinesses.
The YPARD Lagos Cafe which was sponsored by AgroNigeria is an international platform that brings youths from various professions together to better the agricultural sector in a sustainable way and with an objective to encourage more youths to actively participate in the sector – it’s a movement by youths for youths. At the event, the CEO of AgroNigeria, Mr. Richard-Mark Mbaram emphasized the need for youths to actively participate in agriculture despite the setbacks. Mr. Yomi Abe, an agribusiness expert working with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Abuja further stated that the Federal Government is actively working on buying up all produce from farmers to reduce the re-occurring post harvest losses faced by farmers.
In conclusion, the youths must actively play a major role in the development of sustainable agribusinesses in the country.