From Odunayo Agboluaje, Ibadan
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development,Sabo Nanono, has urged the Nigerian youth and farmers to take advantage of the continued border closure to explore the goldmine in agriculture.
The Nanono made the call during the project inauguration of the Youth Agropreneurial Goldmine organized by the Oyo State Agropreneur, OYAP, held at Apata, Ibadan,Oyo State.
The minister, who was represented by the Zonal Director of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Southwest, Dr. Marcus Ogunbiyi, said:”If we close the borders, we provide opportunities for our farmers.When the borders are closed, some of these substandard goods,that are not even produced in the country,come in into the country. But now borders are closed, farmers should take advantage ,go to the farm ,produce more,add value to the crop and sell. We have the market now. Produce your own,make it good and sell.
“The youth should also just come into agriculture. It is better than all these white collar jobs. Government is happy that they are partnering with us in the area of agriculture. They should leverage on the support that the government is giving them. They should encourage themselves not only on farming but in agribusiness.”
The Coordinator,Oyo Young Agropreneur (OYAP), Miss Ibukunoluwa Tubi,said agriculture is the new oil business,saying the next billionaires are coming from agriculture.
The OYAP Coordinator said:”The rationale behind this programme is the fact that we recognize among the youth, first of all, that some perspectives have to be changed. A lot of youth hasn’t seen agriculture as something for the youth. We need to let them see that other people outside the country who are doing agriculture actually become successful.
“The majority of billionaires outside this country are agropreneurs. That is why we need to let our youth see it. There are a lot of obstacles though, that is why we have brought a lot of organizations here that we will be working together. By the time we work together, we would have broken all the barriers that are making the youth to run away from agriculture.
Mrs. Olusola Sowemimimo,an owner of organic farm in Ogun State,said:” Agriculture is a goldmine. If you are able to harness your efforts towards that areawhere you can thrive,it is a goldmine. There is a lot of opportunities they can harness from agriculture. It is important they find their passion,build capacity and networking,learning the best production practices. The opportunities are endless which people can tap into. You need to get your marketing strategies right”.
Dr. Omotoso Sharon of University of Ibadan said farming activities are not complete without research, adding that:”We can encourage women to partake in agriculture”.