Engaging Youth in Agriculture crucial to Development – Commissioner

               Engaging youths in economic growth and development through agriculture and nutrition security, is crucial to eliminating poverty and creating employment opportunities,

               Ogun State Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, Hon. Bolu Owotomo, stated this at a stakeholders’ engagement meeting with the theme, ‘Unlocking Opportunities for Youth in the State”, under the Enterprise for Youth in Agriculture (EYIA), organised by Soiless Farm Lab, in Awowo, Ewekoro Local Government Area.

               Hon. Owotomo said engagement of youth in agriculture was essential, to enable them contribute meaningfully to the sector, thereby improving food production, adding that government was planning to facilitate grants and loans for youths desiring to go into agriculture business in the state.

               “I will encourage our youths to look at ways of adding value to whatever it is that they produce. If you are a fish farmer do not just harvest your fish and sell, find a way to add some value to it before you take it to the market; that way, you will earn more money and be able to expand your capacity and improve your livelihood”, he said.

               Owotomo maintained that the present administration was pragmatic in linking technology to agriculture through Ogun State Farmers Information Management (OGFIMS), which was a platform designed for registration of farmers in the state, pointing out that registered farmers were linked with off-takers across the state.

               The Commissioner affirmed that land was an important asset every agro-entrepreneur should acquire, promising that government was ready to support youth in accessing adequate land for practicing agriculture in the state.

               Speaking at the event, the Chief Executive Officer, Farm Credit, Nigeria, Mr. Afioluwa Mogaji, noted that the role of youth in agriculture and food supply chain was vital due to growth in global population and food, emphasising the need for youth to have the right psyche to be able to access the opportunities that abound in agriculture.

               Speaking, the Executive Manager, Innovative Youth in Agriculture, Ms Aline Mugisho, represented by Mr. Tokunbo Adeoye, commended the state government for creating an enabling environment for agriculture in the state, calling on stakeholders to focus on making agriculture more attractive and rewarding to the young generation by leveraging on technology and adopting youth-friendly policies.