Posted by Gbenga Abiodun on
The federal government has set up a committee to work on possible ways to attract and sustain the interest of the youths in farming.....
The federal government has set up a committee to work on possible ways to attract and sustain the interest of the youths in farming.
This is aimed at ensuring the development of a successor generation of farmers to take over from the present crop of old men and women who engage in farming mostly on subsistence basis in vast rural communities of the country.
President Olusegun Obasasnjo, while presiding over a meeting on Development of Successor Generation of Farmers in Abuja yesterday, said comtrary to popular belief, farming is a serious and demanding business which required the total committment of the farmer to succeed.
The President added that interest is key to sucess on the farm and emphasised the need to give the right orientation to aspiring young farmers to move the nationís agriculture forward.
"Unless you are addicted to the farm, you are not a farmer President Obasanjo stated, adding that while agriculture can be profitable, it must also be seen as a national service.
President Obasanjo, who observed that the current generation of aging peasant farmers has to be gradually substituted, stressed that there is no substitute for commercial farming and managers, which Nigeria currently lacked.
"The content of education must extol the virtue of using your head and hands in agriculture", he noted in reference to the inadequate practical training in agricultural institutes and universities.
Participants at the meeting which included the Governors Olusegun Agagu of Ondo State, Bukola Saraki of Kwara State and Danjuma Goje of Gombe State; ministers, top government officials and Vice-Chancellors of Federal Universities of Agriculture, agreed that young farmers must be sensitised to appreciate that agriculture could be profitable; exposed to new training curriculum and provided with requisite input such as land, finance and ready market for their products.
President Obasanjo, expressed concern on how to retain young farmers on the farms and established a committee headed by Malam Adamu Bello, the minister of agriculture, to collate and study all methods of training of successor farmers; identify reasons, hindrances, and inhibitions to recruiting and sustaining successor farmers; establish what needs to be done to change the orientation and attitude of successor farmers; ensure adequate content of training and preparation; ensure adequate and timely input or assistance; and recommend other measures that would assist the development of successor generation of farmers on a sustainable basis.
The President gave the Committee three months to submit a draft National Policy and Programme of Development of Successor Generation of Farmers.
Members of the committee include the minister of state, agriculture, ministers of finance, Science and Technology, Industry, Education, Women Affairs, and Youth Development; the Governors of Ondo, Kwara, Ogun, Katsina, Gombe, Delta and Imo; the Special Assistant to the President on Agriculture; the Senior Special Assistant on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); are also members of the committee.
Other members include the Directors General of SMEDAN and NYSC; Vice Chancellors of Federal Universities of Agriculture; Professor Adedipe; representatives of the National Universities Commission; National Board for Technical Education; Leventis, Songhai Farm; and a trainer of commercial farm managers based in Ilorin.
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