It is arguably correct to say that Nigerian youths do not fancy farming as a profession worthy of their consideration. When we think of farming, the picture that pops up in our mind is that of an aged (wo)man wearing tattered clothes with a hoe hanging over their shoulder and a cutlass in tow. More so, the presence of “dirt-free” and posh professions are enough discouragement to us.
Interestingly, it appears the days of condescending upon farming are fast ending among Nigerian youths. You ask, “What can be responsible for this?” It is nothing other than that innovation known as Agritech. Agritech is the lure that draws Nigerian youths to agriculture. An observant participant at the last Agritech lab organized by MYFARMBASE Africa can testify to this as there were many Nigerian youths in attendance.
For those of us that are unfamiliar with the term “Agritech”, it is the use of technology in farming, horticulture and aquaculture. It is highly favourable to farmers who are interested in high food and animal production, which inevitably leads to profitability. There are various kinds of agritech – weather forecasts software application, soil management, software applications for prediction and analysis of pest and diseases, drones satellite photography, biotech among others. Other forms of agritech are the use of online platforms for connecting farmers to potential buyers, blockchain for agriculture ( Binkabi is one of such platforms), the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones) for scanning crop fields, livestock monitoring and GPS map creation using onboard cameras, mobile data collection on agriculture and livestock production to mention a few. All these have helped to improve yield and profitability in the agricultural sector. In addition, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) such as podcasts, blogging, vlogging, podcasting, web development of agricultural platforms, digital marketing for agriculture, e-books, websites and so on are not only bridging the information gap in agriculture but are also piquing the interests of Nigerian youths in farming and other related sectors.
As there are depths to every profession/occupation and a mere desire does not prepare one for the demands of agritech, Nigerian youths interested in agritech can take advantage of internship and training opportunities offered by companies like Agritech, Ope Farms, B.I.C Farm Concepts and Animal Care. For funding opportunities, Sterling Bank PLC is assisting budding farmers who meet up with their criteria.
Judging from the above, it suffices to say that agriculture has advanced beyond hoes, cutlasses and even mechanized farming. Technology has created opportunities for Nigerian youths who stand to gain a lot if they choose to engage in the agricultural sector. This will not only ensure a sustainable production of food for the country fast growing population; it will also reduce the level of unemployment among Nigerian youths.
This article was written by Omobolanle O. Abiola; connect with her on IG here