Nigeria is a country with vast agricultural products, which is heavily untapped by its citizens. The country has been too dependent on its Crude Oil since its first production in 1957.
Nigeria has a population of 170 million and 43% of her citizens are youths, most of which are unemployed graduates and with the massive drop in crude Oil price the country’s economy seems to be dwindling. The only solution to this now is diversification, tapping the unused Mineral and Agricultural resources.
A lot of youths shy away from farming, because they see it as unattractive and sometimes hard labour with no form of promotion whatsoever, so a lot of them opt for the white collar jobs. With an aging population of farmers, it’s clear that agriculture needs to attract more young people as the average age of farmers is around 60 years old in Sub-Sahara Africa.
Here are Seven ways Agriculture I think farming could be made attractive to Nigerian youths:
1. Farming Based Reality TV Show
There should be a reality TV show that promotes farming in the country, just like we have for music (project fame, Nigerian Idol e.t.c), dance (which in my opinion adds little or nothing to the economy at large). The TV show should be well promoted and supported, that will enlighten the youths and expose them to the advantages of farming. The prize at the end should be huge with many bonuses added to it, such as free land to encourage star-up. A cue can be taking from programs like Shamba Shape-Up in East Africa or The Farm TV series in the UK.
2. Dedicated TV/Radio Station for Farming
A TV station should be set aside to promote farming in the country, both on terrestrial and cable TV, just the way we have Brownfield Ag News for America . A radio station should be set up too, to promote farming and agricultural products (Music and Farming). As a lot of people, both old and young listen to the radio a lot. Whether they are in their office, driving or at home. This system will create an outstanding reach to as many people as possible.
3. Legalizing Weed
This may sound awkward, but a lot of people take weed on a down low, either for recreational or medicinal purposes. As a matter of fact, one thing always lead to another, so if weed is being legalized there is a very big chance of weed farmers becoming rich overnight, therefore encouraging other youths to go into weed farming as there is huge money to be made from it, from there they will start to venture into new areas of farm produce such as tomatoes yam and so on.
4. Free Land for Farming
The government can also provide free land for youths who are interested in farming with soft loans for the youths with innovative ideas and proposals so as to encourage others who want to venture into the agricultural business. An entire area should be allocated to farmers and farming alone, something like an Agric village.
5. Disruptive Nationwide Farming Campaign
A national campaign should be put in place to create awareness to the public about farming and its advantages and how much the nation and the individual stand to benefit from farming. Radio stations, Tv stations, social media platforms should be used in passing this message across to the youths, especially twitter and facebook. A campaign just like the ”DONT HATE CULTIVATE” campaign, a suitable name should be given to it, something like ”HATE THE FARM LEAVE THE FOOD” or ”MORE FARMS MORE FOOD”, just saying anyway.
6. Celebrity Farmer Ambassadors
Celebrities should get involved, they should be used as ambassadors for different farm produce, just the way D’banj is doing it with Koko garri, other celebrities should do something similar to promote the farming business or bigger companies such as Dangote and Flower Mills or the Nigerian government can use some of these celebs as farming ambassadors, let them brag about how much they have made or that could be made from farming.
7. Indigenous Farming Game App
An indigenous game app is another way of getting youths interested in farming, just the way we have Farmville, Farm Story, Papaya Farm, and Zombie Farm and so on. We could have ours too, just to create awareness, and show what type of crop can be cultivated at different places and seasons.