‘When the discovery and oil trade began, majority of the people who were farmers, or were into any agribusiness abandoned the agricultural sector to get involved in the oil industry. Nigeria is now struggling to revamp the agricultural sector once again,it must be so, and done well because we must all eat. This was what motivated me to participate in this year’s IHAV conference, which I believe would help me gather more knowledge and share ideas with fellow participants from other African countries, to help boost Nigeria’s agricultural sector’.
These were the views of a 20-year-old Ibiyinka Amokeodo, a second-year Food Science and Technology student at the Bowen University, Nigeria; who is one of the hundred (100) youth from all over Africa gathered in Accra for a conference in agribusiness.
According to Miss Amokeode, agricultural is branded as a job for the ‘poor’ in Nigeria because many people ‘feel they are too rich to work on a farm, or do something relating to agricultural’.
She discarded that notion, saying that all must be on board to make agricultural function because Africa’s economy depends largely on agriculture.
She disclosed that after school, she hopes to set up a food processing company, which would go a long way to make agribusiness a ‘necessity’ for Nigerian youth.
The conference is organized by the ‘I Have A Vision’ (IHAV) Foundation, a non-governmental organization (NGO)founded in 2012 with the aim of tackling problems facing the Africa continent and finding solution by targeting the youth because it believes the future of the continent lies in the hands of its youth.
This year’s conference is taking place from 30th July to 2nd August 2014 on the theme: ‘Creating An Agribusiness Revolution With Africa’s Youth’, and has brought together young people from the ages of 18 to 28 from African countries including: Ghana; Nigeria; The Gambia; Kenya; Ethiopia; Uganda; Zimbabwe; Guinea; Tanzania; Botswana; Malawi.
According to a spokesperson of IHAV, MsSabtiyaBalogun, the conference seeks to inspire the young people to take up agribusiness by bringing them together to share ideas, and deliberate on the prospects of Agriculture in Africa.
She said there were many opportunities in the agricultural industry which have been shunned by many people, especially the youth, therefore, the IHAV Foundation thought it was the best way to make agribusiness appealing and interesting to the youth.
Miss Balogun was hopeful that the objective of the conference, i.e., getting the youngsters to take up agribusiness projects after the conference would be met because they (the participants) have shown enough commitment right from their application to attend the conference.
Another participant, Ms. Jeanne Naseria, a third year student at the University of Nairobi, Kenya, said agribusiness in Kenya is regarded as job for the ‘oldies’, which she disagrees with.
She stated that agribusiness should rather be seen as work for the young people because with the global technology advancement, they (the young people)can deploy more modern methods of agricultural to increase yield than the old people can do.
According to Miss Naseria, currently, there are a lot of talks going on in Kenya about how the young people could contribute their quotas to develop the agricultural industry in the country.
This, she said, motivated her to participate in the IHAV conference to enable her build her capacity, learn, share ideas on how to improve agricultural in her country and Africa at large.
JeannedNaseira is nurturing the dream of helping small-scale farmers in her country to be sustained in agricultural.
Personalities expected to talk with the participants include: Mrs. Eva Lokko, former PPP running mate, Mr. Philip Abayori, Sherrie Thompson, Mr. John Armah, et cetera.
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