Worried over the aging population of Nigerian farmers in the country, Master Card Foundation and Sterling Bank of Nigeria have emphasised the need to get the youth actively involved in the nation’s agricultural value chain.
Indeed, the average age of farmers in the sector is 60 years, which implies that the sector is yet unattractive to Nigeria’s youthful population.
The clarion was made to stakeholders in the agriculture value chain to enhance the sector through mechanisation to increase attractiveness for the youth.
This was disclosed during the Sterling Bank Plc’s 2021 Agriculture Summit Africa (ASA) – a platform dedicated to increasing the value of agribusiness in Africa.
The event featured several panelists deliberating on the theme, “Building a New Agro Order.”
The key focus was to address the need for advanced and mechanised farming methods to replace subsistence farming, which is prevalent in many parts of Nigeria and Africa.
Speaking on the topic, “Food Security; Building a Resilient Food Production System,” Program Lead, Agriculture, Mastercard Foundation, Lois Sankey urged policy makers in the agricultural sector to enhance the sector through improved access to resources to make it more attractive to the youth because the subsistence approach does not hold much appeal for them.
She further emphasised that the agricultural sector if well managed could reduce the level of unemployment in the country by employing millions of youths along the value chain.
She explained that introducing forward-thinking end to end interventions will attract young people and will align with the vision of Mastercard Foundation’s Young Africa Works Strategy which is to find solutions to the youth employment challenge and reduce poverty in Africa by creating access to dignified and fulfilling jobs for women and youth.
“Youths should be encouraged to enter agriculture by creating solutions around technology and tools that are labour efficient and would help boost production. This would be an effective way to curb youth apathy towards agriculture,” she stated.
She expressed her gratitude for the partnership between Mastercard Foundation and Sterling Bank Plc, which is focused on helping youth and budding agricultural entrepreneurs access affordable finances for their businesses.
Key stakeholders at the summit expressed optimism that Nigeria can provide leadership in the region with a vibrant Agric-ecosystem.