By Emmanuel Elebeke
The Federal government says it is set to mechanize agricultural production because the involvement of youths in the sector will ensure food security, create jobs, and increase foreign exchange earnings for the country.
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu disclosed this when he received the Director-General and National Coordinator of Nigerian Young Farmers Network in his office on Tuesday in Abuja.
He said the targeted gains from youth involvement in agriculture will be possible considering their population, hence the move to make mechanized agriculture attractive to Nigerian youths.
He reiterated that the present administration placed a high premium on agriculture, adding that this was demonstrated by the massive attention given to rice production by Mr. President.
He said that the deployment of Science, Technology, and Innovation is vital to the development of agriculture in Nigeria.
His words: “Many aspects of farming is dependent on Science and Technology: from the selection of seeds that are high yielding to drought and pest resistant seeds”.
The Minister, however, bemoaned the misfortune of post-harvest losses in the country’s agricultural sector, adding that the Ministry will support the sector by deploying relevant technology to ensure a significant reduction in post-harvest losses and achieve food security.
He further said that agricultural products are essential to the development of pharmaceuticals, as products such as cassava provide starch which is a major ingredient for the production of medicinal drugs.
He advised the Nigerian Young Farmers Network to continue working as a team so as to achieve the objectives of their association.
Earlier, the Director-General and National Coordinator of Nigeria Young Farmers Network Mr. Promise Amahah, said the network was seeking a working relationship with the Ministry to positively reposition agriculture in the country.
He described the network is a melting pot for key stakeholders and investors in the agricultural sector. He further said that the network, which is represented all over the country, is striving to develop a reliable and dependable data platform for agriculture in the country.
He said the network which has over 2 million members spread across the country and is focused on driving and accelerating agricultural development in the country, stressing that those Nigerian youths could be gainfully employed by pursuing agricultural enterprises.