Monday, April 22, 2024

IFAD Encourages Youth Population Optimization for Agricultural Development

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has called on the government to maximise the high population of youths in Nigeria to ensure agricultural transformation, food security and boost economic growth in the country.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has called on the government to maximize the high population of youths in Nigeria to ensure agricultural transformation, food security and boost economic growth in the country.

The Nigeria Country Director, IFAD, Mrs. Dede Ekoue, disclosed this at the 2022 edition of the Federal Government of Nigeria/IFAD Value Chain Development Program (VCDP) National Youth Forum in Abuja, with the theme “Promoting Sustainable Youth Empowerment in Agribusiness and Entrepreneurship.”

Ekoue noted that despite the youthfulness of the country’s population, the average age of farmers is 60 years, adding that the sector is yet to maximize Nigeria’s demographic dividend of a young population in meeting the youth’s aspirations for stable jobs and access to social services, which are normally absent in rural areas.

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The National Program Coordinator, FGN/IFAD-VCDP, Dr Fatima Aliyu, pointed out that the program is implemented by the Nigerian government with funding support from IFAD, to be implemented in nine states of Anambra, Benue, Enugu, Ebonyi, Kogi, Niger, Nasarawa, Ogun, and Taraba.

According to her, the program aims to increase the income, food and nutrition security of smallholder farmers who cultivate not more than five hectares of either cassava or rice, and processors who process not more than two metric tons of cassava and mill not more than four metric tons of rice daily.

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Also, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Dr Mohammad Abubakar, noted that the need to harness and develop youth’s potentials to their fullest has been a major policy focus of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration with his ministry playing the major role, being the largest employer of labour both actual and potential.

The minister, represented by the Director, Projects Coordinating Unit (PCU), FMARD, Mr. Ubandoma Ularamu, noted that the ministry is currently implementing a robust national youth and gender policy to empower youths and women for the development of their potential for growth.

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