The United Nations Food System Summit Country Cohort Youth Lead, Azeez Salawu has urged Nigerians and the Federal government to invest in innovative farming technologies that supports massive food production and sustainability
During an exclusive interview with Agronigeria he explained different technological tools to be embraced and provided to agriculturists to aid their practices for food security.
In his words: “Precision agriculture, which uses data and technology to optimize farming practices, can significantly increase crop yields and reduce resource wastage. This approach can help meet the food demands of a growing population without expanding agricultural land excessively.”
“Secondly, vertical farming presents an exciting opportunity. By growing crops in vertically stacked layers, often indoors or in controlled environments, we can produce more food with less land and fewer resources. This technology is particularly valuable in urban areas where space is limited.
He also explained that dietary changes can play a role in achieving food security.
“Promoting more plant-based diets can reduce the environmental impact of food production and help ensure that resources are used more efficiently.
“Tackling food waste is crucial. Approximately one-third of all food produced is lost or wasted, and reducing this waste can contribute significantly to food security.
By addressing these challenges comprehensively, we can ensure that a growing global population has access to safe, nutritious, and sustainable food sources”, he added.
Speaking further he outlined various reasons many youths do not embrace careers in agriculture, ranging from misconceptions, ignorance and inadequate access to funds
“There are several reasons why many young people are hesitant to choose careers in agriculture. Firstly, there’s a common perception that agriculture is physically demanding and offers low income. Many young individuals aspire to urban careers, often perceiving them as more glamorous and financially rewarding. This perception often deters them from considering agriculture as a viable option.
“Also, limited access to resources such as land, credit, and technology is a significant barrier. Young people often lack the capital and resources required to start and sustain a farming venture, making it challenging to enter the sector.
“There’s a low awareness of modern, technology-driven agricultural opportunities. Many young people are not aware of the innovative and tech-savvy aspects of modern agriculture, such as precision farming, agribusiness startups, and vertical farming as they can key into any of the value chains as actors.
He however expressed that addressing these barriers and promoting the benefits and opportunities within the agricultural sector would encourage more youth engagement in agriculture.
To change perceptions and attract more young people to agriculture, he urged stakeholders to showcase real-life profitability and innovations of young agripreneurs who have achieved financial success in agriculture
He added that there is a need to organise training and empowerment programs that teach modern farming techniques and entrepreneurship skills needed to succeed in agriculture.
He also emphasised the need to create easy access to resources such as land, credit, and technology, incentives and support
“Government and private sector initiatives can help young farmers overcome barriers related to limited resources. Offer incentives, grants, and support programs specifically tailored to young farmers and agripreneurs. These incentives can help reduce the financial risks associated with entering the sector.
“Establish mentorship programs where experienced farmers can guide and support young individuals entering the sector. Networking events and platforms can connect aspiring agripreneurs with like-minded individuals and potential partners.”