The Youth Agric Mandate (YAM) has promised to create 720,000 job opportunities both skilled and unskilled through agriculture business and entrepreneurship for the teeming youths across the country before 2020.
The Group Head, Akinolu Olubayo, made this known while speaking on the theme: “The Role of Youth in Economic Diversification in Agriculture and Technology Innovation for Nation Building and Wealth Creation”, during the group’s launch and press conference in Ibadan recently.
Olubayo informed that the programme would reduce dependence of beneficiaries on the government and will enhance economic development for sustainable growth, adding that there was an urgent need for the government to consider diversification of various sectors of the economy so as to attain solid economic growth.
He disclosed that 20,000 youths are expected to benefit from the job opportunities in each of the 36 states of the federation including the Federal Capital Territory.
Olubayo further noted that petroleum had contributed substantially to the country’s revenue since its discovery, saying that it was a known fact that for a country to attain growth and development, its economy had to be diversified.
“Diversification does not occur in a vacuum. Mono-economy needs to give way to the productive development of various sectors of the economy,” he said. According to him, since independence, Nigeria has been well known for the significant amount of its exports of items like groundnuts, cocoa and oil palm products.
“There exists a positive relationship between economic growth in Nigeria and diversification of other sectors because when there were proper management of human resources, huge investment and concentration on agriculture, Nigerian economy was recorded to be healthy and vibrant.”
He said that the effect of Nigeria’s oil dependency had wasted much of its opportunities to break away from under development despite its massive natural and human resources endowment due to heavy reliance on her huge crude oil resources, regrettably mismanaged.
He added that “the programme would reorient the youth from economic monopoly to micro economic through economic diversification, while it would create wealth and alleviate poverty among the people.
In his lecture titled: “The Role of Youth in Economic Diversification in Agriculture and Technology Innovation for Nation Building and Wealth Creation”, the Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Ibadan, Professor Bamidele Olutoyin said if agriculture is properly developed, it can provide food, raw materials and foreign exchange earnings for the country.
However, he said because it had been abandoned and the reliance on oil, the country had been experiencing serious economic problem.
He commended the organizer of the initiative,, saying that it would chat a new course for the unemployed youths in the country.