It was a historic moment that marks the end of the old bureaucracy; it signifies the redefinition of a path in our National history as well as the beginning of a new chapter for teeming Nigerian Youths in the Agriculture sector.
On Thursday the 20th to Friday the 21st September 2012 witnessed the gathering of over a hundred stakeholders from different academic and professional background who converged at the instance of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Abuja for a Technical workshop on the Design of the Presidential Initiative for Youth Employment in Agriculture with a caption: ACHIEVING YOUTH EMPLOYMENT FOR NAGROPRENUERS.
The participants at this event were mostly Nigerian Youths cutting across diverse professions especially those from the Agricultural discipline to say what they want and in what best format they want it. It was indeed a programme of the Youth, for the youth and by the youth as the young participants under the guidance of few older stakeholders in the sector (who were there to sharpen their ideals for sustainability) suggested how best their lack of interest in Agriculture can be revived and sustained.
The identified problems militating against Youth participation in Agriculture along which the thematic session for the workshop were formed was not designed by the Ministry, it was done by some few Youth leaders who formed the National Steering Committee for the Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme (YEAP) of which YISA National Coordinator was opportuned to be a member.
This is the first time in the recent past that the Beneficiaries of a policy are given the chance to say what their challenges are and how best the problems can be solved with a keen interest from the man who holds the pen.
The Honourable Minister of Agriculture, the Minister of State for Agriculture, the Permanent Secretary and several other top functionaries in the Agriculture sector were among the audience listening to the young dynamic, creative and innovative Nigerian Youths presenting the ideal solutions to their problems as rightly identified by their colleagues at the Steering Committee.
The Honourable Minister of Agriculture, in his opening and closing remarks, reiterated his commitment to achieving the Agricultural Transformation Agenda. He emphasized that the era of old age farmers need to be over, subsistence agriculture has to give way to youth driven commercial Agriculture and the hard Naira currency used for food importation has to be redistributed among our farmers. He went further to say that enough is enough in regards youth joblessness and importation of food; the money spent on importation of food shall be redirected to empower jobless youths to produce food, hence, feed the nation.
According to him, the time for the over haul of Nigeria Agriculture can not be better than now and Agriculture must be treated as business and not just a mere developmental project.