By Ahmed Kaigama
Bauchi, Oct.4,2020 Experts in Agriculture on Sunday stated that engaging youth in Agriculture will promote and improve food security in the country.
They made the call at the end of a one-week training of 30 youth on soil samples and techniques, organized by Office Chérifien des Phosphates (OCP), and Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Bauchi (ATBU) in Bauchi.
Dr Donald Madukwe, Head Agronomy for OCP Africa Fertilizers Nigeria Ltd., said the participants were taking through some kind of specialized training, to enable them become proficient in technical and commercial skills.
He said this will enable them function as service providers and independent business owners within the Agriculture ecosystem.
“They will therefore be able to eke out a livelihood and promote and improve food security,” he said.
He explained that the participants are Young leaders trained under the Empowering African Youths (EMAY) project in Nigeria.
Madukwe said the participants were also empowered with agronomy technical know-how and agricultural tools.
“Such as mobile digital soil laboratories for soil testing and analysis, Cargo tricycles to reach rural farming communities as last mile retailers of inputs.
“They got electronic tablets for data gathering using digital solution, and small handheld implements to enable them deliver value to smallholder farmers in rural communities,” he said.
The Head of Agronomist said EMAY is a project that seeks to equip young Nigerians with capabilities to be self employed as future agriculture entrepreneurs.
He added that the Young Leaders will be supported with monthly stipends of N30,000 for some initial period of time before their businesses can take root and stabilize.
On his part, Prof. Ahmed Sarki-Fagam, the Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, ATBU Bauchi, said youth engagement in Agriculture development is critical in improving food security.
He said Agricultural development is critically important to improving food security and nutrition.
“This will increase the quantity and diversity of food, drive economic transformation, and provide the primary source of income for many people,” he said
According to him, ATBU signed an MoU with OCP Africa, to empower African youth in the business of Agriculture.
He said the 30 participants have been selected from Sokoto, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Niger, and Bauchi States for the project.
Sarki-Fagam urged the participants to make good used of the opportunities and knowledge acquired to sustain themselves.