The average farming age in Nigeria is between 61 and 65years and the average age is 24 years . Our visit to St Mulumba Catholic College in Ile-ife an ancienty city where most household have in recent times practiced farming of some sort, was set out to educate the teenagers on the dangers of not choosing careers in agriculture and the benefits of doing same.
we were shocked to findout that after taking agricultural science lessons for 6 years most of the students still do not want to practice agriculture. These students already have knowledge of agric as some have visited farms belonging to relatives and have had daily contact with farmers.
young people no longer see the beauty in agriculture. we went down to the school prepared to rejuvinate their intrest in agriculture at an early stage and motivate them to choose agric based courses when they fill entrance forms for universities, the Ypard osun team was welcomed at the prestigious private secondary school and we held a lecture focused on the role of teenagers in achieving food security.
A 1% increase in agricultural yields leads to a 0.6-1.2% reduction in the no of people living below 1 dollar per day. (Thirtle 2003) As part of the programs put together for the celebration for the world food day, we visited St Mulumba Catholic College on the 13th of October, 2017 where we spoke to teenager on their place as regards food security. Over 40 senior school students were enlightened on the beauty of modern agriculture and how they can key in as key players.
The teens were made to understand that nutrition is a powerful driver of sustainable development and the future of quality agric practices lies in the hands of teenagers and youths. The place of Smart agriculture and technology based agric cant be undermine owing to the fact that 12 of the 17 #SDGs require good nutrition to be met and young people are the best placed to drive the required developmental impact.
They found it interesting to know that the average farming age in Nigeria is 62 years while the average age is 24years, this means that a large number of Nigerians are below the age of 35. The teens were eager to know how they can become major players in the agric sector and we encouraged them to make career choices that are agro based or agric related i.e. Agricultural and Environmental Engineering, Agricultural Economics and Extension, Agronomy, Food processing, Crop Science, Plant Science, Animal Production and Health etc.
In addition they were made to know that the agric sector is up to 4 times more effective than other sectors in reducing poverty, and that the participation of youths in agriculture is a win-win for development.
The teenagers were made to understand that in 33years time the population of Nigeria is estimated to be about 450million and the job of feeding that population which is amost the current size of the EU with 28 countries all having a population of 510.1m (2016 estimate) falls on youths and teenagers.
We also hinted that there are numerous opportunities available in the agric sector and statistic shows that low or lack of technology has affected the yield of our agric practitioners.
I.e. 1. Cows from Nigeria are the worst milk producers
2. Nigeria has the 3rd largest area harvested for tomatoes, but the lowest yield among the top 25 producers of tomatoes
3. Nigeria needed 2.3 million tons of rice in 2016 and imported 2.3 million tons.
They were encouraged to think up solutions to the various challenges peculiar to our agric sector as other young people and research has brought new discoveries to light i.e. Recent studies show that
1. Vegetable can be an ingredient in bread production.
2. Animal feed can be processed from cassava leaves. etc.
Nigeria amonst other has to prepare to feed its growing population, at 180 million population we have about 18million cows while netherland at 17+million has over 330 million cows, our daily milk production is low, while the milk and meat consumption are rising on a daily basis .
The ability of teenagers and youths to bring innovation to the agric sector would massively reduce poverty as more kids are born in Nigeria per day than in the European Union. Hence they were educated on the benefits of mechanized farming, climate smart agriculture, postharvest handling of agric materials, agricultural research and women participation in agriculture.
To feed the world in 2050 we need to increase total global food production by 7% (FAO 2009)
CEO Fourteen Farms/ YPard Local Rep