Will Agriculture Become the Sector to reduce the unemployment rate in Nigeria?

Rice grains - gusau

Youth Unemployment Rate in Nigeria averaged 23.63% from 2014 until 2018, reaching an all-time high of 38% in the second quarter of 2018. In the long-term, the Nigeria Youth Unemployment Rate is projected to trend around 44.00% in 2021 and 45.00% percent in 2022, according to our econometric models. With the advent of COVID 19, more people have lost jobs, fewer firms are recruiting hence more chaos for an already impending job crisis. Youths also constitute about 40% of Nigeria’s labor force and approximately 45% of her 180 Million population. With that noted, it is safe to assume that Youths in Nigeria have the potentials needed to participate effectively in agricultural development.

Gusau, Zamfara state, Nigeria.
Zamfara state, Nigeria. A Cellulant farmer at an aggregator site where price is being sorted and rebagged.

Read Also : Sports vs Agriculture: Lessons Agriculture can learn from Sports to encourage youth patronage

Major problems encountered by youths in agriculture include lack of interest in agriculture as a result of drudgery in farm operations, lack of start-up capital, inadequate agric policies for agro-labourers for ease of operations, inadequate finance/credit facilities, among others. As a result, they are faced with economic challenges which result in undue poverty and vulnerability. This has also made youths to seek employment in other sectors of the economy they seem favorable and lucrative in order to empower themselves economically, resulting in rural-urban migration and leaving the bulk of agricultural production in the hands of old people who oftentimes produce at a subsistence level. In view of this, Cellulant hosted its inaugural AgriConnect Summit last Thursday themed – Youth Employment in Nigeria: What Agriculture Can Learn from Sports.

The webinar featured veterans from both sectors as topical issues in Agriculture, Sports and Social Media were raised, discussed, and solutions proffered. One of the panelists, Mr. Eze Nwakanma said ‘‘we all came from villages and don’t have to go over there to farm. You can do the aggregation, sponsor the activities on the farm, etc from wherever you are and still participate actively in agriculture in your own way’’, on the other hand, Mr. Akinbode Oguntuyi argued that Agriculture needs to publicize more, in his words, ‘‘After a game you can go on social media to see highlights of the match and all but that’s not prevalent in Agriculture’’

Click here to watch the full video of AgriConnect Summit

Mr. Akinbode Oguntuyi also argued that Agriculture must tell her story, ‘‘the sporting world celebrates its every win, whether small or not, its all loudly celebrated. Agriculture must be loud about its wins, publicizing the innovations so people can have a better knowledge of what’s going on in the sector’’

Nevertheless, in the agricultural sector, youths are yet to have a full role in policy dialogue. The inclusion of youth in agricultural policy-making is still in an exploratory stage and the full impact is yet to be felt.  These public policies and enlightenment programs have had a mixed impact on youth unemployment. While a number of intervention programs did address critical needs, others failed to address the specific needs of youth.

The Agriconnect Summit continues this week, on Thursday 6th August 2020 with another insightful webinar session themed – Smart Farming: A Solution to Prevailing Hunger in Africa. Click here to register.

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