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April 20, 2024
You are currently viewing We must engage youths in agribusiness to curb food insecurity – Obasanjo
Some participants at Nigeria’s 9th International Trade Exhibition & Conference on Agrofood, Plastics, Printing and Packaging in Lagos

We must engage youths in agribusiness to curb food insecurity – Obasanjo

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By Yinka Olawale

Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has charged the Federal Government to engage youths in agricultural business to provide jobs for unemployed youths and curb good insecurity.

The former president made the remark at Nigeria’s 9th International Trade Exhibition & Conference on Agrofood, Plastics, Printing and Packaging in Lagos on Tuesday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the conference had the theme: “Nigeria’s Technology Investments: Driving growth in Agrofood, Plastics, printing and packaging.”

Obasanjo said if the government and the private sector could get restive youths employed, there would be less people involved in banditry, kidnapping and other criminal activities.

“With our teeming population and the problem we have of our youths going over the desert and risking their lives, what we can we do is to give them enough employments.

“The area we are sure that can provide enough employments for our youths is agricultural business.

“Even though, when we talk about agriculture not many of them will want to go to the farm, they will rather go for white collar jobs.

“However, the youth need to get their hands dirty and their feet wet in agricultural business.

“The government can improve on our security, and part of our security are the men and women that are not properly engaged or employed.

“If we are able to give them employment then there will be less of them getting involved in banditry, kidnapping and other criminal activities,” he said.

Obasanjo said the need for agribusiness was to ensure food security, nutrition security, employment and wealth creation, poverty elimination and income generation, particularly foreign exchange earnings.

“These are the reasons why we must take agricultural business serious and these are the reasons why this conference is necessary and I congratulate the organisers for it,” noted.

The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Sen. Abubakar Kyari, said the federal government was collaborating with stakeholders across board for the necessary transformation in the food system required for the immediate and long-term interventions.

Kyari said this was in response to the declaration of emergency on food and water by President Bola Tinubu; the food security pillar of the Renewed Hope Agenda.

“As an immediate response, we have called for partnerships across board and repurposed various interventions to help ramp up the production of staple commodities.

“This is starting with wheat in the dry season, dovetailing into rice and maize, and then to cassava and soybeans in the rainy season. These staple crops also support livestock and fisheries feed production.

“In this effort, we are building an ecosystem where each stakeholder plays a role in supporting farmers, especially small holder farmers, to improve production and productivity.

“By reaching out to our governors, we are witnessing much-needed investments and support being made across the country along different value chains.

“A key challenge is the issue of data for identifying genuine farmers.

“In this regard, we are leveraging ICT and partnering with state governments and other stakeholders to ensure we target real farmers with our support to enable actual production,” said Kyari.

The minister said the government was also working on improving efficiency in the value chains through mechanisation.

He said the recent MoU with John Deere to increase the number of tractors by 10,000 in the country at the rate of 2,000 per annum was one such efforts.

In his welcome address , Mr Paul Maerz, the Managing Director, of Fairtrade Masse, said Nigeria’s investments in food and packaging technology were soaring, positioning the nation as a key player in Africa.

He said the country was trailing only South Africa and leading Egypt.

Maerz, the organiser of the exhibition, explained that the country’s food production had witnessed a remarkable surge of 40 per cent in recent years.

He added that this was from 26 billion euros in 2016 to 36 billion euros in 2020, projected to rise by 48 per cent between 2021 and 2024, from 42 billion euros to 63 billion euros.

The organisers said despite significant investments in local food production, Nigeria remained one of Africa’s foremost food importers and food imports were surging further. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

 

Edited by Salif Atojoko

 

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