Nigerian Youths are really beginning to take responsibilities for the future of this country and I loveeeeee it. From recycling to taking interest in farming and learning about value addition, scaling up businesses to international levels and getting involved in policy making, activism and asking the right questions, I am personally beginning to think that we can actually save the future of Nigeria.
Food production, for example in Nigeria is beginning to resonate with a lot of youths and events are being organized everywhere in Nigeria right now. In the last two months, I have attended many Agro Events and I can say that the question on many people’s lips was: How do we make things work? Or How can we work together to build something. Everyone is coming to understand something which the CEO of Farm Republic Miss Oyindamola Asaaju puts best as: “Partnership is the new competition” and I couldn’t be happier about this.
So, in order to answer the questions about getting involved, this article will be addressing some areas where youths can get involved irrespective of your background or career path.
First things first, agriculture or getting fully involved in farming requires training. Get as much information as possible because agriculture is so specific that you need to understand climate (or know a little about the clime of your country or proposed farm area), Know about the most vital things like soil and farm inputs.
Understand that agriculture is a business, a whole career and not a side
Last week, I saw a tweet from Mr Samson Ogbole and I paraphrase as follows: “We don’t have engineers because they learnt engineering off the internet, nor do we have doctors from reading about medicine on the internet, you cannot be a farmer by just reading up stuffs online”. This I have equally come to understand from experience as well especially when you stand in a room full of practical farmers, you can’t just fly or take a spot for reciting or regurgitating what you have learnt on a few websites especially when experiences gathered individually is put together and you have a sum of about 60-100 years of experience all together. Your 300 hours online can get you in to the conversation but the group with 60-100 years in total will either knock you out dead or help you fan your inquisitiveness to flames; You’d have to choose by yourself really. Mr Olawale Ojo Always says that: “Agriculture is a life long journey of discovery and the agriculturalists know ourselves. If you aren’t a farmer, you just aren’t” one. I totally get it now.
Let’s get into the ways that youths can get involved in production, processing, and Value addition
It is no longer a new thing that the average age of a Nigerian farmer is 65 years old and in order to replace them, Knowledge is very vital. This can be done either by taking a degree in agriculture or doing it the apprentice style: Going to work with these farmers, learning at their feet and then taking things learnt to the next level.
These are the following ways that you can be involved in Agriculture:
- BE A POLICY MAKER: Yes! A lot of policies have been passed but no implementation. Who will follow up? There is an organization called TrackaNG and they track all Government projects that have received allocations but weren’t carried out. If you don’t want to join politics fully, Join or create an organization that handles following up with government policies and project implementation.
- AGROMEDIA: There is a lady known as Wandeville of Wandevillemedia and she is very involved with telling stories and creating awareness about agriculture using media as a tool. Do you have a degree in communications, journalism, etc; Get Involved. Make Agriculture appealing. Let the image representation of Agriculture switch up and let it no longer be sloppy.
Mr Eazi, GuiltyBeatz & J.Derobie team up with Sherrie Silver and the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development for a special dance anthem to change the world.
Their new song “FREEDOM” is in support of the #DanceforChange hashtag campaign and aims to help raise attention and funding for Africa’s youngest farmers, and the millions of rural youth around the world, who are ready to feed their communities and help make the world more food secure.
In 2014, 19 recording artists. 11 countries. 10 languages co released a song about Agriculture called ONE message to African Leaders: Do Agric, It Pays! (Get a FREE download of the song when you sign the petition calling for investment in African agriculture at). This led to African Leaders pledging to do Agric( The power of media collaboration http://one.org/doagric )
The participating artists are: A.Y. (Tanzania), Bufallo Souljah (Zimbabwe), Dama Do Bling (Mozambique), D’Banj (Nigeria), Diamond (Tanzania), Dontom (Nigeria), Fally Ipupa (DRC), Femi Kuti (Nigeria), Judith Sephuma (South Africa), Juliani (Kenya), Kunle Ayo (Nigeria), Vusi Nova (South Africa), Liz Ogumbo (Kenya), Nancy G (Swaziland), Omawumi (Nigeria), Rachid Taha (Algeria), Tiken Jah Fakoly (Cote d’Ivoire), Victoria Kimani (Kenya) and Wax Dey (Cameroon). The song was released under D king Music in 2014.
- AGRO LOGISTICS: Do you have some money to invest in transportation of goods from farm to the market in good condition irrespective of our bad roads, Invest in cooling vans. You can transport the tomatoes, Oranges, etc and none will be lost due to excessive sun, etc. Knowing that post-harvest losses start at harvest, this is a valuable and lucrative way of getting involved without actually farming. You get to rent out these vans and get paid; Farmers smile to the bank and you get to smile as well.
- AGRO INSUARANCE: The farmers need their farms insured, they need to know the benefits or hazards involved. As easy as it is to open bank accounts from anywhere right now because of marketers, apps, etc, we need insurance company to gamble or take risks with the farmers too especially if you have them in clusters or if they are in association.
- AGRITECH/ICT FOR AGRICULTURE: Sincerely, we all need each other. I say this because from my interactions with youths in agribusiness who are involved in production and processing, some are not happy that all the money is going to Fintech companies. They do some coding and algorithm and BOOM they get paid 1 million dollars for innovation and it seems like the ACTUAL farmers don’t get that kind of investment. I see it as mental work versus physical strength situation. I prefer mental work to physical work but I need to do both to stay alive and innovative. I sincerely hope that the promises of the Agtech Companies which includes helping Farmers get access to more market, more money and getting the royalties and accolades they deserve isn’t just a pitch strategy. I sincerely hope it’s not just to sway investors in their way.
- AGROCLUBS: You as an Agro enthusiast or a graduate of Agriculture can start a Farmers club. I remember joining a Young farmers club in secondary school alongside Geography club and these clubs helped or fuelled my interest in Agriculture generally. This will help create interest in young minds thus securing the future of Youths in Agriculture especially in Nigeria. You can teach them basic things like keeping a small garden in pots, hold excursions to farms, hold events for seasoned speakers to come teach and train the young minds about what they need to know or teach them to focus prior gaining admission to study in Secondary or tertiary institutions.
- AGRO INVESTOR: Do you earn more than you need per month, Invest in local farmers, invest in those who want to sell inputs like seeds, fertilizers and chemicals. I will advise that there be contracts and Guarantors involved because this is Nigeria and “Japaing” (absconding) is very possible here.
- The list is endless and the future of the nation and Africa is legit in the hands of this generation. Let’s all join hands and be involved. KIND REMINDER, YOU CAN PARTICIPATE IN AGRICULTURE WITHOUT FARMING.