The Tomato and Orchard Producers Association of Nigeria (TOPAN) on Friday called on the Federal Government to engage more youths to explore the business in agriculture during the pandemic.
Its President, Mr Job Oyeleke, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos that the only way to develop the economy would be determined by the number of youths in agribusinesses.
Oyeleke recalled that agriculture attained its current status, majorly, as a result of the trainings many youths underwent during Dr Akinwunmi Adesina’s tenure as Minister of Agriculture and now President of the African Development Bank (AfDB).
According to him, that era birthed the transformation in the sector that positioned agriculture to becoming the mainstay of the economy.
“I must commend the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration for his commitment to ensuring that agriculture takes the centre stage in the economic recovery drive of the country.
“However, we cannot achieve much if the youth are not encouraged to grow in agribusinesses. I am a product of training – Youth Empowerment in Agriculture in 2013, as a young graduate.
“Then we were encouraged to see the business in agriculture. We were told to picture ourselves riding in air conditioned tractors; all in the bid to make agriculture look attractive.
“We can still do the same to get more youths engaged across the agriculture value chain, especially now that the pandemic has made countries rely on what they produce to sustain their economies,” Oyeleke said.
He highlighted some of the ways to attract youths into the sector as; access to trainings without hindrances; access to credit; good seeds; fertilisers and chemicals.
Oyeleke lauded the Federal Government and AfDB for supporting farmers so far while urging them to do more for youths to catalyse economic and food production growth.
Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)
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