Youth Group Pledges to Eliminate Poverty, Revolutionise Agric in Nigeria

0

A visionary group of young professionals, operating under the banner of “Youth Advocates Nigeria,” has launched an aggressive move towards revolutionising agriculture by removing the stigma of poverty associated with it in Nigeria.

Led by Aina Tolulope, an Agricultural Economics graduate from the University of Ibadan, the enterprising youths comprising fish, maize, lettuce, and cassava farmers, converged on the Recreation Centre, Adamasingba, Ibadan, Oyo State capital, on Saturday, for a seminar on how to collaborate, synergise and harness the various available resources in the agricultural sector, locally, nationally and internationally, towards making them self-reliant; taking the teeming youth away from the dense market of unemployment, social malaise and poverty.

Among the various entrepreneurs invited to the seminar who gave motivational talks were its President, Tolulope (MD/CEO, Tolulope Foods and Farms); Olayinka Ayowole (an Agronomist and CEO, Viyola Foods); Yinka Adesola (a practical organic farming entrepreneur); Abayomi Egbemode (CEO, Dipo Integrated Farms); Oluwafemi Aliu, Babatunde Oladimeji, and Sam Ogbone (a bio-technologist and expert in modern soil-less farming), among others.

The youth group has the mission “to connect, equip, empower the next generation of agricultural change makers to take collaborative and innovative action towards feeding the nation and the world”.

Speaking on the objective of the group, Tolulope who revealed that its vision “is that of a world where young dynamic youths can take centre-stage in creating a world without hunger,” added that, “over the years, there have been a lot of challenges in the agric space. A lot of people who come into it see it as unattractive.

“Now, we have a generation of young farmers who are passionate about this sector, but a lot of things do not work, and we need to make it work by coming together and having a strong voice that can harness opportunities within our space, and also push a movement that can make things work and affect us. We don’t want to be a generation of farmers that will be poor because we are not poor; we cannot be poor. We are sophisticated and changing the face of agric tech through improved agri-business practices”.

Noting that the organisation is a non-political and non-governmental one, Tolulope also said that in striving to improve their well-being, “we chose the theme of the event: “Collaboration for progress in Agriculture,” and so; we need to come together because if we do it separately, we will not come to a concession and make the needed impact for opportunities that affect our sector.

“So, ours is an advocacy group focussed on creating a movement, a voice for young people in this space. We have sustainable agro- business ventures. It is when youths in agric business are creating job opportunities, food security, that we can say the nation is moving forward and Nigeria has the largest population of young people in which agriculture can accommodate over 70 per cent of them in employment opportunities.

“Average age of our farmers is 65. What will now happen in about five years if we don’t transition to groom a generation of young people that are passionate about agriculture and have agri-businesses that work?”, she asked.

Asked how they intend to generate funds, the president said, “On finance, we are meeting today to have everyone of us young professionals to put our thinking cap on; think of how we can generate funds from supports from private and public organisations. This is because many of us lack take-off capital. Our objective is to ensure we have youths that own sustainable agro-businesses”, she told reporters.

In his lecture, Sam Ogbone, said that there was the need to introduce technology to agriculture sector and make it a tool for building a country desired. According to him, “we cannot be depending on soil for our farming because there are many factors militating against soil farming. There is a need to ensure that we can produce food, not dependent on the soil or weather. That is why there is need for soil-less farming. It is not to throw soil out of the window but to complement soil production in both rural and urban areas.