Special Adviser to Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu on NYSC and Students, Murtala Musa Habib has said the transformation of the agricultural sector in Kebbi by the Bagudu led administration is equal to none in the history of the west Africa region.
Murtala stated this while speaking in an event organized by the African Union Economic Social and Cultural Council Nigeria in celebration of the International Youth Day themed “Youth Engagement for Global Action”.
According to him, the success recorded from rice production, guinea, onions, sugar cane and the shea value chain wouldn’t have been possible without youth participation in the agro-sector.
He commended Dangote Group for setting up a rice mill in the state, saying it would create employment and boost the economy.
Recall that Bagudu who had visited the factory site at Saminaka in Shanga Local Government Area of the state, said the investment would also rack up the rice value chain and add value to local farmers.
Also, GBfoods, a global leader in culinary product manufacturing, in partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Kebbi State Government and the Emirate of Yauri recently built a N20 billion Tomato processing factory in Kebbi State.
The factory is the second largest in Nigeria and the only fully backward integrated plant in ECOWAS – and has the largest single tomatoes farm in Nigeria. When all phases of the project are finished, the factory will be the largest fresh tomatoes processing factory in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The investment, in the world-class factory and adjoining farm, includes a drip irrigation and fertigation infrastructure, greenhouses, seed planting robots, an incubation chambers and a plethora of agricultural machinery.
The farm will serve a dual purpose; it will produce industrial tomatoes in the dry season and soya beans in the raining season. The tomato factory will convert fresh tomatoes into tomato concentrate used for producing Gino Tomatoes Paste and Gino Tomato Pepper Onion Paste while the soya bean will be used to process soya-bean oil which is a critical ingredient for GBfoods’ Bama and Jago Mayonnaise.
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In the recent past a high number of youths have graduated from the institutions of higher learning and have flooded the job market thus an increase in the rate of unemployment.
These youths are therefore forced to take up any opportunity that comes across despite their education background. These youths exist in both the rural and urban settings all over Nigeria.
In the past years most of those from rural background have migrated to towns looking for white collar jobs others remaining behind in the rural areas taking up casual jobs. Not all those who move to towns are lucky to secure a job and end up in their rural villages.
Youths with 60% of Nigeria’s population should get engaged in Agriculture.
Agriculture in Kebbi and youth participation
Youths play vital role in the all-increasingly popular agribusiness in Kebbi State. Joining forces with the state Government, youths in Kebbi led by the Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu administration has been able to achieve the following:
– 225 trucks of assorted fertilizer have been purchased and distributed to Kebbi distributed to Kebbi State farmers at government approved price since the inception of this administration.
– Implementation of agricultural transformation agenda (ATA) is in progress and payment of counterpart funds for the smooth take off of the project already been paid
– Partnership between Lagos and Kebbi States on rice value chain and other commodity that produced the LASKEB. This positive result did not go unnoticed by some of the country’s leading newspapers, Vanguard and Leadership Newspapers.
_The newspapers have closely monitored His Excellency’s human capital investment and interventions in this area and find it worthy of rewarding. He was thus named Vanguard Newspaper Governor of the Year 2016 and Leadership Newspaper Person of the Year 2016
_Commissioning of WACOT rice mill recently held in the state is a true attestation of the administration’s investment drive. His Excellency’s investment effort has placed Kebbi second only to Kano in rice milling in the whole of the Northwest.
– Partnership with Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Sokoto, Zamfara State and the Moroccan Government to receive the supply over 300,000 tons of fertilizer.
– Procured for distribution to famers 100 tractors, 1000 Ox-drawn ploughs, 100 rice threshers
– Procurement of 100 motorcycles for monitoring. By trained Agricultural Extension Workers
– Encouraged more than 20,000 farmers to produce soya-beans in parts of the State
– In an effort to diversity, develop and harness the non-oil sectors of the economy the administration is encouraging livestock production.
Ways to engage youth in agriculture
1) Link social media to agriculture
The rise of social media and its attraction among young people with access to the appropriate technologies could be a route into agriculture if the two could be linked in some way. Mobile phone use in Africa is growing rapidly and people are now much more connected to sources of information and each other. Utilising these channels to promote agriculture and educate young people could go a long way in engaging new groups of people into the sector.
2) Improve agriculture’s image
Farming is rarely portrayed in the media as a young person’s game and can be seen as outdated, unprofitable and hard work. Greater awareness of the benefits of agriculture as a career needs to be built amongst young people, in particular opportunities for greater market engagement, innovation and farming as a business. The media, ICT and social media can all be used to help better agriculture’s image across a broad audience and allow for sharing of information and experiences between young people and young farmers.
3) Strengthen higher education in agriculture
Relatively few students choose to study agriculture, perhaps in part because the quality of agricultural training is mixed. Taught materials need to be linked to advances in technology, facilitate innovation and have greater relevance to a diverse and evolving agricultural sector, with a focus on agribusiness and entrepreneurship. Beyond technical skills, building capacity for management, decision-making, communication and leadership should also be central to higher education. Reforms to agricultural tertiary education should be designed for young people and as such the process requires their direct engagement
Through collaboration of various stakeholders dealing with farmers and youths capacity building interventions, youth involvement in Agriculture will be on the rise resulting to food security for Nigeria.