By Eric Nyikwagh
The nation’s future depends on the youth and they play an important role for the development of the country. If youth people are outside of the workplace, it portends negative trend to the country’s economy. For millions of young people around the world, finding a decent job is still an uphill struggle. Almost half of the global youth labour force is still either unemployed or underemployed. Moreover, national youth unemployment rate is increasing and new jobs can be made through creative business endeavours.
The appearance, freshness, vigour and spirit are the characteristics that can be taken into account when defining youth. As youths play this important role, the nation thinks of youth as future leaders and the prosperity and wealth of the nation is on their hands.
According to this very nature, youths prefer adventure and they want to explore something new and also prefer challenges. Youths should improve their abilities and show their talents and performances through innovative agriculture.
We Need Active Presence of Youths in Agriculture
Agriculture is important to the development of any nation; this development includes fostering the full participation of youth in the agricultural sector. Youths are the successor farming generation and therefore the future of food security in Nigeria. Overall, youth earn “mixed livelihoods” from various sources — on-farm, off-farm, and non-farm — and with self-employment and migration playing particularly important roles.
The ageing smallholder farmers are less likely to adopt the new technologies needed to sustain increase in agricultural productivity. This effort seeks to change the negative perception of youths in actively participating in agriculture – as farmers are seen as uneducated, unskilled, and physical labourers with extremely low economic return.
Modern agriculture is more than tilling the soil and rearing animals; the sector today offers career opportunities in agribusiness, marketing, logistics, agri-technology, research, environment, financial management, engineering and technical areas for the youths to explore.
The Way forward
Given the current depressing economic situation affecting the Nigeria’s populace, especially the ever increasing youth population who largely seem disoriented on how to eke out a living for themselves without access to the almost non-existent well-paid jobs, effective actions need to be taken. This situation is further compounded by the recent devaluation of the Naira and the fall in oil prices which has led to a drag on the economy. With this predicted concentration of the African population in urban areas, it is easier to understand why the number of young farmers decline yearly. There is a compelling need to boost and sustain youth’s interest and participation in modern agricultural activities.
There are many pathways to economic engagement for youth in agriculture, and not all of them mean primary production. Youth are involved and invest in activities that support agricultural production, capacity building, goods and services, logistics, processing and value addition as service providers and entrepreneurs. And of course, youth are also farmers. Young farmers in Nigeria have a distinct approach to agriculture and tend to prefer shorter season, high-value farm enterprises such as horticulture, poultry, high in-demand crops and rabbit rearing.
A younger generation can help introduce new technologies whilst also learning from traditional methods, holding the potential to offer the perfect fusion of new and traditional solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges which are hunger and poverty