The Nigerian Young Farmers Network (NYFN) has urged the Federal Government to reposition the country’s Agribusiness sector for youth participation owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The national coordinator of the network, Mr Promise Amahah, speaking to the local press said that there is a critical need for a National Emergency Food Strategy. This is following the huge dip in oil prices, which will affect Nigeria’s revenue.
Effects on COVID-19 on agriculture
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the major gaps in Nigerian Food Security approach. As such, it is pertinent to be vigilant in mitigating the effects, especially in agriculture across Africa. Amaha further added that it would be prudent to plan long term and shore up the country’s capacity across board to strengthen Nigeria’s food systems.
Also quoting statistics from World Bank’s Microdata from 2019 on how the current average age of a Nigerian farmer is 55 years and the average life expectancy of a Nigerian is between 55 and 56 years, Amahah reiterated that this information is enough to emphasize the need for urgent repositioning of the sector.
Engaging the youth
As such, it is best to equip the young farmers with the knowledge and support they need to ensure that the agribusiness sector thrives well enough into the future. This, he explained, is through making deliberate efforts to integrate young people into the process of food production for purposes of building resilience against unforeseen circumstances like the current pandemic.
Amahah noted that his Network provided a veritable platform for youth mobilisation and engagement in agribusiness adding that youth participation would accelerate food security and sustainability considering the demographic advantage. He said NYFN was ready and willing to collaborate with the government to mobilise youth in the country into farming business to guarantee food security.