Motivating Youths to Contribute In the Development Of Modern Farming
Nigeria’s Agricultural sector through different setbacks has lost its glory of the past, in previous years the country was a force to be reckoned with; a large exporter of cash crops and a huge producer of food crops. Food crops were cheap and readily available as farmers produced more than enough to feed and sustain its teeming population.
Advances in oil exploration, however, resulted in a huge departure of Nigeria’s working populace from Agriculture. Young people who could be actively involved in agriculture suddenly diverted interests into white collar and office jobs in search of greener pastures. Instead of creating and inventing methods of improving on production and food processing methods, Nigerian farmers got stuck with old methods of farming and food production. With a growing population and lack of investments in industrialization, it was only a matter of time before scarcity of jobs became prevalent.
With a population of 42.5million people in 1960, Nigeria’s population has quadrupled to 186,988 million in 2016, at an annual growth rate of 2.44%. It is expected that the country’s population would rise to 194,615,054 in 2018 and increase of 5,055,552 in just one year. Ultimately an increase in population should lead to an increase in market size, number of business and a greater GDP (just as is the case in India, China); but that has not been the case in Nigeria. In fact, youth unemployment rose by 25.20% in the fourth quarter of 2016.
Another Survey revealed that 47% of Nigerian youths are without jobs. There is also a huge underemployment rate of 36.5%, which means these youths are grossly underpaid or work under unfit conditions.
Universities turn out graduates yearly, contributing to the overloaded job market. Job interviews have become a sort of reunion where one can usually meet old friends due to the sheer amount of applicants showing up for these interviews.
Graduates after waiting for ideal white collar jobs, realize the extent of their predicament and resort to working menial or underpaying jobs at schools, shops, and restaurants. The not so honest ones have resorted to robbery, kidnapping, drug pushing among other vices just to make ends meet. It proves for a sad read that youths languish in these conditions even though there are boundless opportunities available in the agricultural sector.
A modern system of agriculture involves various farm management operations that ensure high productivity and growth. It has evolved from planting of crops and rearing animals using crude tools and machinery.
Modern day agriculture has countless job opportunities; from sales, crop production, distribution, crop protection, processing, marketing, farm machinery etc. It has the capability to employ almost any expert in various fields including Research, Engineering, Science Laboratory, Sales and Marketing, Technology and so on.
The gains of modern farming are yet to be fully realized in Nigeria. Currently, most farmers are of an older age, and youths are of the disposition that graduating from tertiary institutions has put them above the tier of a common farmer.
This is most far from the truth, with a considerable level of education it is expected that youths would be able to employ new improved methods of farming, and add better value to farm products increasing profitability; which would help improve their personal wellbeing and the society at large. Abundant opportunities exist for youths who are not interested in full-scale farming. These include delivery of farm goods and produce, food storage and processing, production of feed or fertilizers. These are all ventures which if taken advantage of, would greatly reduce the unemployment rate.
To be successful in modern farming, youths would need tools and funds. The government should create platforms which would seek to support youths venturing into agriculture financially. There should be support groups where members can meet and share ideas and innovative methods they are employing in achieving productivity on their farms.
ProbityFarms is a solution that intends to help youths incorporate modern farming techniques by providing them with information on steps and procedures necessary to achieve high productivity on farms. Farmers would be provided with costs and revenue projections as well as a platform to keep track and manage all farm expenses.
For a free account visit www.probityfarms.com/oracle
This article has been written by Abraham Olaleke