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Make it Catchy: The Time is now!

John Agboola, Nigeria, in the field

Agriculture remains the gold in the hand of millions of people who appreciate and utilize this resource. For millions of farmers, getting their hands in dirt is never a problem irrespective of the incentives accruing to them in the process of feeding the world. Research has shown that a larger proportion of farmers feeding the growing population of the world are between 45-75 years. In line with  the economics’ law of diminishing return, this means that the older a farmer using crude technology become, the lesser his efficiency which further translates to productivity , especially for the rural farmers whose operations are carried out with a disconnect to recent advances in farming practices and innovations.

In 2013, Dr. Adesina, the president of African Development Bank and the former Minister of Agriculture in Nigeria said that  saga of increased youth unemployment is particularly traceable to the neglect of agriculture and the mono – cultural dependence on oil. He said to solve this issue, a solid attention is given to youth to take up the baton of agriculture from our old age people but much is said but little is implemented with less than 2% of the youth venturing into agriculture and agribusinesses. Although, several reasons influencing this such include migration of youth from farming communities to urban areas (this account for 60%), disincentive to agriculture, and orientation of youth to agriculture as dirty, non-profitable venture. This, I believe, strongly affirms the fifth theme of GCARD3, which is of great interest to me- Ensuring better rural futures. Some countries have successfully implemented a youth inclusive approach in their agricultural development. This has made agriculture an attractive and appealing venture to the younger generation as it promotes  little investment of time, funds, etc which guarantees  significant profits at the end of the farming season/cycle.

As a young farmer and agripeneur working on the pilot stage of AgrindusNetwork (an approach towards rural farmers and youth in agriculture), I have derived unlimited joy engaging involuntary services with the rural farmers and youth towards agricultural development. An engagement with a friend who is a nurse gave a different view to the agribusiness. He said:

Oh Agriculture! You don't have to earn a doctorate degree before you can know it. It is passed through genetics without the use of blood. Through it, you can determine your own meal, be dependent and not be classified as 'the unemployed' It is like getting pregnant in anticipation to produce good yield. Just like a student goes to school with pen and book, so also a farmer goes to a farm with hoe and cutlass. Although, modern equipments are available making farming a blessed occupation. Gone are the days when a youth finds it difficult to farm thinking it is below his or her standard. Now, any youth can stand and proudly say, "I have a farm" It sounds so unique, different and special to be a farmer. Agriculture is a product of LOVE... People say love in different ways. Most people say 'Love is at first sight' You plant your seed of love in the heart of person, and you continually water it by showing care and affection and then, it germinates in the heart of a person. The person reciprocate it by showing love in return. When the act of love combines, Oh! What a beautiful harvest it brings! Just like you take farm product to the market for sale, love affects everyone around you positively.

This view is reflected in GCARD flows over years with young people at the central of concern from “Road Map for Change” to “Partnership foresight and capacity development needed to deliver change”. Also, GCARD3’s theme is “No one Left Behind: Agri-food Innovation and Research for a sustainable World”. In line with this, my desire at GCARD3’s conference in Johannesburg, South Africa is to learn and positively contribute to researches through engagement with farmers, youth and experts through collaboration, organizing step-down training for target audience and ensuring better rural futures through AgrindusNetwork to better life for rural farmers which ultimately would reduce youth unemployment and the alarming rate of migration from rural area and agriculture.

I strongly believed that I have good facilitation and reporting skills, and a good working verbal skills in English, although I haven’t served formally as tutor for agricultural economics courses in the university. I was a student tutor in my days in school and I have participated in webinars, attended conferences and worked on the team that conducted Value Chain Studies for six commodities for Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) in Nigeria. It is a privilege and utmost joy to have joined YPARD as a youth.  I have immensely benefited from this global movement. I have been privileged to be added to the YPARD-Social Media Team in 2015 which has greatly increased my communication skills through social media. 

This blog post is part of the GCARD3 Youth blogpost applications. The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.

Picture credit: John Agboola

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Wednesday, 06 December 2023

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