Youth Agri-Preneurs For Inclusive Growth in Nigeria – Dr. Kenny Odugbemi

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Introduction

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Nigeria has a total land of about 910,768sqKM

Agriculture occupies 78%
Permanent crop 37.3%
Permanent pasture 7.4%

Qtr2 2023 Agriculture contributed 21%
Crop production 19%

Nigeria Youth Population

With a rapidly growing youth population, it presents both challenges and opportunities.

Nigeria grapples with pressing issues such as
✓food security
✓economic development,

it is crucial to harness the potential of this demographic dividend to achieve inclusive growth by empowering Nigerian youth and creating an enabling environment,

*Transformation initiative’s

We can transform the African sub region food systems and unlock its economic potential.

Nigerian food systems face multifaceted challenges, including

✓Limited access to modern agricultural practices,

✓inadequate infrastructure, and a lack of inclusive policies.

However, within these challenges lie tremendous opportunities that can be achieved through investments in the following
✓ education,
✓vocational training, a ✓entrepreneurship

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All these programs must be tailored to the agricultural sector.

By equipping young people with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in agribusiness, they can become agents of change and innovation. 

*Government intervention

Governments, in collaboration with the private sector organizations and civil society, can enhance the provision of the following
✓comprehensive education
✓ Training programmes

All of this must align with the needs of the labour market.

By incorporating practical skills and modern agricultural techniques into the curriculum, young people can develop the following
✓ appreciation of farming sustainably, market linkages,
✓ value chain management.

Use the youth population to drive inclusive growth across the continent.

✓Ensuring equitable access to resources is critical for inclusive growth.

✓Financial institutions and governments should establish mechanisms that provide affordable credit and access to land for young farmers.

Challenges

Many young Nigerians face significant challenges in accessing capital due to limited collateral and financial literacy.

To address this, the government has developed innovative financing models, such

✓microfinance
✓ blended finance initiatives,

All these can be employed to provide young farmers with the necessary capital to start and scale their agricultural enterprises.

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Nigeria’s youth population holds immense potential to drive inclusive growth and transform the continent’s food systems.

By investing in the following

✓education,
✓facilitating access to resources,
✓implementing inclusive policies,
✓fostering partnerships,

Nigeria can empower its young population to become the driving force behind agricultural innovation and economic development.

Furthermore, it is essential to promote sustainable agricultural practices through policies that incentivize youth-led initiatives in conservation, organic farming, and climate-smart agriculture.

Way forward

By incorporating environmental considerations into policy frameworks, governments can encourage young farmers to adopt sustainable practices that protect natural resources, enhance resilience to climate change, and contribute to the overall well-being of communities.

In addition to inclusive policies, participatory governance is crucial for youth engagement.

My Suggestions

Governments should actively involve young people in the following
✓decision-making processes,
✓providing platforms for their voices to be heard.

✓Youth advisory boards, consultative forums,
✓mentorship programmes can facilitate dialogue between policymakers and young agripreneurs,

✓Ensuring that policies are designed and implemented in a manner that reflects their aspirations and needs.

✓Harnessing Nigeria’s youth dividend requires collaboration between governments, civil society, private sector entities, and international organisations.

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*Stakeholders engagement

These stakeholders can join forces to provide the following

✓ mentorship, ✓capacity-building programmes, ✓investment opportunities for young agripreneurs.

✓Public-private partnerships can promote the transfer of the following knowledge,
✓technology,
✓ expertise, fostering innovation ✓entrepreneurship in the agricultural sector.

✓ By leveraging the strengths and resources of various actors, comprehensive support systems can be established to empower young farmers and agripreneurs.

Contribution to Nigeria’s economy

Nigeria’s potential for growth and development is immense, but harnessing this potential requires a collective effort.

✓Collaboration between governments, private entities,
international organizations is vital in driving Nigerian growth and achieving sustainable development.

✓international organisations and donor agencies also play a crucial role in supporting youth-led initiatives.

✓By providing funding, technical assistance, and networking opportunities, they can facilitate access to resources and markets for young agripreneurs.

✓Collaboration with international partners can also foster knowledge exchange and innovation,

✓promoting the adoption of modern technologies and best practices across the continent.”

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