Youth in the agricultural sector came together to address issues militating against youth involvement in the sector. Operating under the aegis of the Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD), the organizers of the Forum, christened “YPARD Cafe”, sought to reinforce the ‘increased involvement’ narrative as the speakers placed emphasis on the need galvanize interest in agriculture by projecting it as a viable and profitable economic undertaking.
The event which was held in Lagos afforded participants the opportunity to brainstorm and proffer solution to the general ‘Agro apathy’ of Nigerian youth.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Samson Ogbole of PS Nutracetrical exposed to attendees the treasures and potentials hidden in the field of agriculture. He explained how agriculture and technology if juxtaposed can create surprising benefits; citing the United States of America as an example, he explained how just 10% of their population is involved in agriculture and yet they produce food in abundance whilst still exporting unlike Nigeria which, though smaller than the U.S.A, has over 70% of its populace involved in the primary end of agriculture and is not self sufficient.
He further stated that with current statistics, if Nigeria’s agriculture does not embrace technology, particularly soilless farming, drone farming, soil covers, smart farms amongst others, it would never get the youths to become actively involved. This is against the backdrop of depleting arable land, present gas flaring issues, desertification, and security challenges. All these, he noted, place the country and its citizenry on the path to food shortage and scarcity.
YPARD is an international movement by young people in the agricultural sphere designed to push actively its goals, one of which is to spread the news about the network, garner more members and share dreams and ideas on how to better the agricultural sector for the youths. The YPARD Café 2018 was sponsored by AgroNigeria, the “Voice of Nigeria’s Agriculture”.
Speaking at the event, the CEO of AgroNigeria, Mr. Richard-Mark Mbaram lauded the programme and restated AgroNigeria’s commitment to legitimate efforts to encourage youths to take to agriculture. In this regard, Mbaram pointed out that the Nigeria Agricultural Award’s Youth Project and Essay Competitions – where Prize monies running into millions of Naira are on offer.
The programme had in attendance young agropreneurs including Ms. Oyindamola Asaaju, co-founder Farm Republic, Mr Adeniyi Adenuga of Tepebo International Limited, Ms. Divine-Love Akam, co-founder of EFarms, Ms. Serah Odende of African Harvesters amongst others.
YPARD as a platform is actively creating avenues for young people in agriculture to come together, network, discuss and create whilst encouraging their peers in the process.