The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, has called for a greater involvement of the youth and women in agriculture.
Nanono made the call on Tuesday in Abuja at the “Debriefing of Outcomes of Socio-economic Surveys in Nigeria’’, led by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and its partners.
He underscored the need to address the issue of the micro-level value chain, being practised in Nigeria, by aiming for a higher level, which would aid efforts to engage more youths and women in agriculture.
“I hope this meeting will also address the link between agriculture and industrialisation, and look at the value chain by looking at a higher level of value chain.
“We have to start thinking along that line and see how we can remove a large number of youths from our streets,” he said.
The minister said that Nigeria needed to look at crops such as soya bean and sesame seed which, he noted, were some of the crops with good export potential.
He said that the crops also had the potential to create jobs for the youth.
Nanono called on women to “wake up and come out of their closets, be aggressive and proactive in participating in farming business”.
He urged women and the youth to be involved in agriculture to move the nation forward.
Besides, the minister noted that although sorghum was becoming an industrial raw material, the sorghum seeds planted in Nigeria were not standardised.
He, therefore, stressed the need to address the issue through education and massive orientation programmes so as to enable the people to understand the importance of standardising sorghum.
In his remarks, the Country Representative, ICRISAT, Dr Hakeem Ajeigbe, said that seven major studies were recently conducted in Nigeria on sorghum, pearl millet and groundnut, to assess the impacts of technologies that had been disseminated in the past 15 years.
“A lot of investments by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and other donors have gone into this in the past 10 to 15 years, so we are looking at the adoption of the recommendations of the survey.”
Ajeigbe said the survey was also complemented by a study to analyse the role of gender and youth contributions in the agricultural chain in Nigeria.
He expressed the hope that the outcome of the survey would help the minister in future policy decisions.
ICRISAT is a non-profit, non-political organisation that conducts agricultural research for the development of the dry lands of Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
The institute and its partners are involved in efforts to empower the poor to overcome poverty, hunger and degraded environment through better agricultural practices.
The organisation conducts research on five highly nutritious drought-tolerant crops — chicken pea, pigeon peas, pearl millet, sorghum and groundnut.