By Gabriel Ewepu
ABUJA—THE International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, has urged the Federal Government to focus its investment on rural transformation for massive food production and security.
This was stated by the President, IFAD, Kanayo Nwanze, while assessing agro-industrial development in rural areas of the country.
Nwanze, who also had been passionate and concerned about youth engagement in agriculture, said they could be attracted to the sector if the rural areas were transformed with basic infrastructure and other incentives.
He said: “We need the youths of today to be the farmers tomorrow, but for that to happen we must transform our rural areas.
“Why are we creating jobs in other countries when we have more than 200 million young people, and so many are unemployed?
“What do I mean by rural transformation? I mean development that is centred on people and that invests in them; investing in change that is social as well as economic, so that rural areas are socially viable and economically vibrant.
“I mean investing in change that is comprehensive and inclusive in its nature, and lasting in its impact.
“The benefits of rural transformation reach far and wide. All of us stand to gain when there is flow of goods, services and money between rural and urban areas. All of us benefit from healthy food, clean water and fresh air.
“By investing in rural transformation, we can create a range of opportunities for young people in our rural areas so that they are not compelled to migrate to urban centres and big cities, where they too often fall prey to divisive rhetoric and extremism.
“We need to offer these youths opportunities to build their lives and realise their dreams in rural areas.”