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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Aggressive agric investment needed in rural areas

Government at all levels have been called upon to embark on aggressive investment in the agriculture sector if the youth could be made to settle down in the rural areas for livelihood, reports NaijaAgroNet.

A social entrepreneur in the education, youth and business development sectors, Olukayode Ajayi-Smith said that the government can get young people to love farming if it commits enough resources to make it attractive. "I think the government has to invest in rural areas and ensure that such investments are lucrative to young people. The major reason young people leave rural areas is to pursue better opportunities."

An agricultural entrepreneur, Abdullah Yusuf, NaijaAgroNet gathered, said rural urban migration has been most pronounced in the country's north, Nigeria's agricultural hub. He said Kano, once popular for its groundnut pyramids in the 1950s, has suffered a similar fate.

"I blame this on a number of factors that include a lack of basic social amenities, poor funding of the agro-allied sectors by the government and a lack of sound agricultural policies and incentives for farmers," Yusuf said, adding that the Boko Haram insurgency in the north only worsened the crisis.

Another concerned citizen, an educational instructor with the north-central Kogi State government, Ademoyo Philips, NaijaAgroNet was informed, said official records indicate that three out of every five school leavers in the state do not enroll in secondary education within the largely agricultural state.

Lagos, Nigeria's commercial capital, NaijaAgroNet reports, receives an average of 30 people a day from the countryside who never return home. The government's hope of using agriculture to arrest the poverty rate, now at 35 per cent, and high unemployment rate, officially seven per cent with those between 15 and 24 being worst hit, is in jeopardy by young people abandoning farming.

Cyriacus Nnaji/GEE

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 Pix: Arc. Sonny S.T. Echono, Perm Sec. Federal Ministry of Agriculture

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