Hunger: Ogbeh urge youths to engage in agriculture

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, has implored Nigerian youths to return to commercial/mechanized agriculture in order to curb the looming hunger that is imminent.

This is just as the Federal Government in collaboration with other policy makers and international agencies, has expressed determination to implement attractive agricultural policies that will entice and engage Nigerian youths to agriculture.

“Nigeria will have a bleak future in terms of food if we do not plan now. Nigeria consumes seven million tons of rice annually and the fact that we largely depend on other countries like Thailand and Malaysia for this quantity of rice is a concern so we are introducing mechanized  agriculture to encourage our youths,” he said.

He made the call while delivering a keynote address at the official launch of the First conference of the “Feed the Future Nigeria Agriculture Policy Project,” a five year, $12.5 million initiative.

The initiative is a joint effort between Michigan State University (MSU) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) Nigeria Strategy Support program (NSSP) funded by USAID-Nigeria.

The minister decried the fact that agriculture has been neglected in the past thirty years due to the discovery and reliance on oil for our revenue.

He said “the need for us to attain food sufficiency is not only for Nigeria but also for neighboring countries like Chad, Niger, Sudan and Mali who depend on us for food.

In his address, the Mission Director USAID, Michael Harvey, said he was pleased with the priority given to agriculture by the present administration with the production of the ‘Green Alternative’ agriculture policy document.

He said Nigeria would not be capable of leading Africa if it did not have food security and therefore called for the implementation of the project with urgency.

The goal of the ‘Feed the Future Project’ is to promote inclusive agricultural productivity growth, improved nutritional outcomes, enhanced livelihood resilience for men and women through an improved policy enabling environment.