By Stanley Onyekwere
The need for greater public financing and mechanisation of Agriculture in Nigeria has been identified as critical to effectively engaging Youth and women in the development of the sector.
This was the position of some stakeholders at yesterday during aninteractive forum organized to mark 2017 Youth & Women Day, held inside the National Agric Show ground in Nasarawa State.
The event themed: ‘Empowering Youth and Women in Agriculture for Sustainable Economic Diversification and Growth’, was part of activities of the ongoing 10th National Agric Show.
In particular, the stakeholders drawn from local and international development agencies, youth and women groups, urged the government to up efforts tailored at promoting the agric sector as a business.
National Coordinator, Zero Hunger Commodity Association, Dr. Tunde Arosangin, said it was high time to encourage real public financing of Agriculture targeted at ensuring food security and rural development in the country.
He noted that overtime, government have never come short of declaration of support for Youth and women involved in agricultural activities, hence the need to cash backed such.
According to him, “Credits must be readily available and affordable as it’s obtainable elsewhere.
“Agriculture must mechanised, in order to encourage youth to go into farming.”
In her keynote address, MRS. Fabiyi A. Olukemi, of the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria, noted that the Youth has the energy and power while the women have the sustainability required for agricultural development in the country.
She therefore urged the Youth and women to actively engage in promoting cultivation and marketing of agricultural products in the country.
Similarly, Programme Officer, Fatima Muhammad Sani, Association of Small Scale Agro Producers in Nigeria (ASSAPIN), says “90%of people engaged in farming are women and Youth, hence, the need to empower this group of people in the society.”
Also speaking, Food and Agriculture programme Advisor, ActionAid Nigeria, Azubike Nwokoye, the government should look into enhancing the value chain of Agriculture business, as a way of improving agric for women and Youth.
He explained that it was necessary, because there are too much waste incurred in the line of production and handling of agricultural resources.
Stressing the need for greater involvement of non state actors, he adds: “The quest towards reducing post harvest loses and improving value chain of Agriculture in Nigeria will be realized with all stakeholders support.”
On her part, Deputy Executive/Programme Director, African Youth Initiative on Climate Change (AYICC), Barr. Nkiruka Nnaemego, reiterated that the place of Youth in agriculture cannot be overstated.
Nnaemego, who doubles as Founder, Fresh and Young Brains Development Initiative, revealed that this is the first time in the Agric Show that a day was set aside to engage Youth and women on Agriculture development.