Nigerian youths have been tasked on the need to take up agriculture as a business and means of livelihood. Speaking at the 2019 Agribusiness Excellence Recognition Award, put together by the Golden Crown Agricultural High School, Awa Ijebu, the Vice-Chancellor of FUNAAB, Prof. Kolawole Salako stated that the world population of developing countries, such as Nigeria, was increasing at a very high rate and hence, the need for increased agricultural production to feed the growing population.
Represented by the Deputy Director, Agricultural Media Resources and Extension Centre (AMREC), Dr Olalekan Oyekunle, the Vice-Chancellor said, “The world population of developing countries such as Nigeria is increasing at a very high rate, and that means that we have myriads of people all over Nigeria and they need to be fed. For us to feed them, there is a need for increased agricultural production to meet the full demand of these people and reduce importation”. The Vice-Chancellor added that the involvement of youths in agriculture would give them an opportunity to showcase their full potentials in agriculture and agribusiness, as he encouraged the participants to work towards exposing youths to agriculture and making it attractive to them to sustain their interest.
He advised farmers to ensure they have a succession programme so that young ones can be actively involved in agricultural practices, saying “When we look at the demand for food and production of food, you will see that there is a wide gap between the two. We do not have sufficient food production and we have more demand for food, and this may be as a result of many factors such as lack of succession programme because majority of farmers in the rural areas are becoming too old with little or no youth participation”.
He reiterated the commitment of FUNAAB towards helping young ones to achieve their dreams of becoming successful agriculturists in the future, adding that FUNAAB is globally known as a centre of excellence in teaching, research and extension services. The Vice-Chancellor stated that the main goal of the University was to impact true training, practical skills, and knowledge that are relevant to agricultural activities, stressing that FUNAAB had been training and encouraging secondary school students, to impact the spirit of entrepreneurship in them through AMREC programme, called ‘Agriculture in School Programme’. He added that over 650 students from 16 secondary schools had been trained on different agricultural enterprises such as production of crops, poultry production, snail growing, fisheries, bee-keeping practice, and honey, among others.
The Chairman, Planning Committee, Dr. Olumuyiwa Akinsola while delivering his welcome address, stated that the event was focused on appreciating farmers for their outstanding performance in food production. He thanked God for the success of the programme and encouraged the participants to network, to provide more opportunities and links to various agricultural businesses. He disclosed that the African countries’ edition of the programme would be organised next year with participants from Liberia and Ivory Coast, stressing that it would open a good opportunity for African Food Survival Ambassadors (AFSA) to meet and exchange business notes in providing quality, cheap, and affordable food for all Africans.
At the occasion, there was an agricultural playlet by the Golden Crown Agricultural High School, Awa-Ijebu, and presentation of AFSA awards to 18 professional farmers, including the Ooye of Iwoye-ketuland, HRM Oba Joel Alaye; Onimeko of Imeko; HRM Oba Benjamin Olanite; and Dr. David Akinsola, among others. Pupils from Solomon Iluyomade Academy, Sagamu; Blessed Achievers Secondary School, Arigbajo, Ifo; and King’s Gifts School, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State; participated in the Agricultural Quiz Competition while pupils of Blessed Achievers Secondary School emerged first.