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Iddy Brown: Nigerian Youths and Agriculture; The Way Forward.

A farmer prepares water channels in his maize field in Ngiresi near the Tanzanian town of Arusha on Tuesday, July 17, 2007. Millions of farmers around the world will be affected by a growing movement to change one of the biggest forces shaping the complex global food market: subsidies. Many experts agree farmers need help to grow food year in and year out, but Western farmers may get too much and African farmers too little. (AP Photo/Karel Prinsloo)

A lots of activities that has happened since the emergence of Buhari as the president of Nigeria is quite memorable. Series of reflections camouflaged my thoughts. From insurgency, dwindling economy, dollar rise, etc.

Zero tolerance in corruption being the major agenda of president Buhari is going well, at least the startling figures of stolen funds from politicians here and there, has shown that the change mantra is driving towards the right direction. In fact, i see Buhari as a catalyst for change but this will not be achieved if Emeka, Okon and Mubarak do not genuinely change their attitude, mindset and character. Change should be a personal thing. It should start from the man facing the mirror.

Away from these reflections, my concern is in the diversification of our economy; which Agriculture is a major focus. Lately, industry players in the economic sector affirms and anticipates that huge investments and importation of Agricultural produce will revive our economy ones again, especially if the right policies are implemented and executed.

 

YOUTH INVOLVEMENT IN AGRIC

It is quite unfortunate that the involvement of youths in Agriculture is not encouraging. If careful research is done, the revealing percentage of youths in Agric will be very low. Why so? Our heavy-weight political folks made it so by portraying to us that politics’ pays more.

Prior to Buhari’s dispensation, local government councilors, chairman and public office holders were earning big, making politics look like a ”profession” that one can venture into and eventually become rich overnight. Some Nigerian youths actually subscribed to this fat lie and were so brainwashed to believe this crap.

It is no longer news that the oil sector has failed us. Hence, agriculture is the next option. If Agric is the next top investment priority, then we should make it very attractive. A re-orientation campaign projecting agriculture as a lucrative sector should be done.

Funny enough, the crops of Nigerian youths warming up to be the next 2face Idibia are uncountable. Some don’t even have the talent to sing. They just want to go into entertainment. I wish Lai Muhammed could go round the length and breadth of the country drumming agriculture into the ears of the youths.

 

POLITICIZING AGRICULTURE

Some weeks ago, the Nigerian Senate, in one of their plenary sessions, discussed diversifying our economy and incorporating Agric as the major focus. Senator Murray Bruce, as usual, strike a chord in his opinion regarding the topic. He actually hit the nail on the head by insinuating that giving grants to farmers will go a long way in boosting the sector. My worry is that over the years, such grants were given. I could recollect during Obasanjo‘s tenure, lots of grants were given to farmers. Where are those farmers today? If we check, some did not channel those funds to their farms. Another issue that borders me is that if grants are circulated now, the real farmers may not get the chance to benefits, not when we now have ‘political farmers’ in the system. If we must get it right in giving of grants to farmers to expand their farms, then the real farmers must be identified.

 

ACCOLADES

Going by the trend, regarding awards ceremonies that is organized in our country today, categories in music, comedy, fashion, and movie; are the regular norm we usually see. We rarely see awards ceremonies organized for industry players in the Agric sector.

Interestingly, if an awards event is done to acknowledge farmers that are doing outstandingly well in the agric sector, it will boost their morale and serve as an encouragement for young people to consider agriculture as a career. The gains involved in agric cannot be over-emphasized. Also, if multi-national companies consider making successful farmers as their brand ambassadors, and giving endorsement to them, then the sector will be a hot cake.

 

Iddy Brown is a Journalist, social commentator and Avid reader. He Writes from Uyo.

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