Agriculture industry stakeholders come together to identify solutions to various challenges
Stakeholders in the agricultural industry have come together to find solutions to the varied problems of the sector in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa.
The Agricultural Policy Research Network (APRNet) held its 7th Agricultural Policy Stakeholder Forum and 1st Annual International Conference in Asaba with this primary objective.
The two-day conference, titled “Towards a Resilient and Sustainable Agrifood System by 2025 in Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa,” brought together key players in agriculture from across the country and abroad, including entrepreneurs from agribusiness, academics and senior government officials. , civil servants and elected politicians from the public and private sectors.
Professor Eric Eboh, Director of Jobs and Wealth Creation for the State and Head of the Office of Jobs and Wealth Creation for the State, emphasized the objectives of his article in his keynote speech. opening, “Youth Employment and Wealth Creation through Agricultural Entrepreneurship: The Delta State Model as Evidence of the Paradigm Shift.”
According to him, “the aim is to demonstrate, using living evidence from Delta State, that youth agricultural entrepreneurship is a real strategy not only to solve youth unemployment, but also to create wealth. and promote a resilient and sustainable agri-food system”.
He said young people could take advantage of the huge economic opportunities along the agricultural value chain through active participation in self-employment farming using targeting approaches, which he described as a deliberate effort. adapted to the circumstances, constraints and needs of young people.
“The Delta State YAGEP model is programmed to solve youth unemployment and develop agricultural value chains through youth agricultural entrepreneurship: agricultural skills training, internships and start-up support as well as a support for marginal (surviving) businesses; and train, equip, establish and support young agricultural entrepreneurs for self-employment and economic independence,” he stressed.
Seeking ways to engage more youths in the agricultural value chain, the head of job creation office said the lessons learned over the seven years of establishing YAGEP in the state are the answer and that other states should use them.
He categorized the solutions into three groups: removing the barriers that prevent young people from joining the agricultural value chain, getting consistent policy support, and the program learning curve, which is the willingness to use real feedback to correct Errors.
He said that from 2015 to 2021, YAGEP produced 2,298.46 metric tons (MT) of meat, 72,680.767 MT of eggs, 6,682.91 MT of fish, 2,342.25 pigs and 3,084.40 MT of cassava, among other plant products, with the help of 1,520 workers. beneficiaries in fish, poultry, pig and plant production.
He said that with the right combination of enablers and drivers for success, such as the conditions, factors and processes that have been used to implement YAGEP over the years, youth agricultural entrepreneurship is a way effective in tackling youth unemployment and has great potential. to promote a resilient and sustainable agri-food system.
Earlier at the opening ceremony, Dr. Anthony Onoja, President of APRNet, said the objectives of the conference were based on the fact that there is still a food crisis in the world due to the change climate change and wars, which have made life hard for families in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa.
He said the problems were why APRNet brought together academics and people with an interest in the agricultural sector to talk about how to solve problems like lack of food, poverty, hunger, malnutrition, migration caused by climate change and invasions by herdsmen and boko haram, which has led to numerous camps for people who have been forced from their homes (IDPs.)
“Food inflation is high. People cannot afford decent meals, even among the middle class. How to get out of this mess? Nigeria was better than that. We are looking for a solution. To eradicate hunger and poverty, government should embrace innovation.
“The government should be open to implementing research findings that make the case for innovations to revive the agricultural food system, develop the agricultural food value chain and improve access to food inputs for farmers. Agricultural inputs must be made available at the right time to enable them to use them to achieve results.
“It has been reported that the Anchor Borrower Program loan was granted late to some farmers when they did not need it, which increased the propensity to default. The government should be timely to distribute all the inputs it has and to provide an enabling environment in terms of security to boost food production,” he said.
He explained that as a result of their deliberations, a statement will be created and published in global scholarly journals, as well as used by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources for policy development and execution. .
The delivery of goodwill messages by APRNet partners and the presentation of papers by other speakers were the highlights of the inaugural ceremony.