Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will establish a Department of Youth in Agriculture to cater for youths in agribusiness, under the Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme (YEAP) initiative.
The Minister, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, made this known in Abuja at the end of a two-day workshop on the National Presidential Initiative on YEAP.
According to him, the department will ensure that the programme designed by the youths during the workshop is implemented.
He said that this way, a system would be put in place for monitoring and evaluation.
Adesina said that government resolved to set up a structure that was youth-led to enable them design a programme that would create the next “Nagropreneurs’’ in the country.
“All the things that came out of this workshop will be implemented within an institutionalised framework. The initiative is important to Mr President because he promised Nigerians that he was going to create jobs and we hope to create one million jobs from this initiative.’’
The minister said that the president promised the youths that he would ensure the development of an insurance facility around the YEAP initiative.
He told the youths that he would convey the decision reached by them at the workshop to the President Goodluck Jonathan.
Earlier, Alhaji Bukar Tijani, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, observed that the Federal Government would engage the youths in rice production to sustain the transformation agenda on rice.
He said that the young farmers would be directly linked to rice mills that would process the rice after harvest.
“This is to help the young farmers sell their rice because the demand for rice in this country is up to 5 million tonnes on an annual basis and the production for rice about 50 per cent.
“So, the other 50 per cent will have to come from our own production. Gradually, before 2015, we will be producing all the required rice in Nigeria.’’
He encouraged other young famers to embrace the initiative.
In his remarks, Mr James Awoniyi, member of the Cassava Growers Association (CGA), advised the Federal Government to critically examine funding in agriculture.
He said that government should do everything possible to get youths involved in agribusiness.
A farmer, Miss Cynthia Umoru, commended the ministry for allowing the youths develop a framework to overcome the image of drudgery that had discouraged many youths from going into agriculture.
According to her, she left a “choice’’ career to go into agriculture and has never regretted taking the decision.
Seventy youths attended the workshop from across the country.