A group of Agriculturists in Kwara State, under the aegis of Agriculture and Allied Employees Union of Nigeria (AAEUN), have said that one of the reasons Nigerian youth lack interest in farming is because people price agricultural products too low.
Speaking at an award ceremony for deserving personalities in field of agriculture in the state in Ilorin at the weekend, the state chairman of AAEUN, Mr David Ehindero, said that rural development aspect of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture should be used to develop agriculture in the state.
“Most Nigerians price agricultural products to the least price level while other non-agricultural products attract expensive prices. Meanwhile, farmers would have devoted at least a year to get the product out to consumers. But still, when people want to buy from them, they beat the price down to least price as if they are nothing useful. It is high time we took our agricultural practice seriously and gave it a priority in our day to day activities because that’s what is sustaining and giving us life”, he said.
Mr Ehindero, who frowned at little recognition accorded farmers in the country, said that agriculturists and farmers were not always celebrated like entertainers.
He said the idea of the award ceremony was conceived to recognise contributions of personalities in the field of agriculture.
“Farmers are usually left behind in the scheme of things in the country. That has discouraged youth from participating in agriculture. We feel that if we celebrate farmers, it will motivate them and spur them to service while young people will be encouraged to join agricultural practice. We feel we should do this from time to time and recognise people that have contributed to agriculture and environment in Nigeria to make them do more.
“If we keep talking about agriculture and not really encouraging practitioners by way of recognising their contributions, they will not do more”, he said.
Talking on strategy for better agriculture development in the country, the AAEUN chairman advised three tiers of government on the need to create agrarian community all across the country.
“We need to encourage people to begin to live in farms. That’s why I challenge Federal Ministry of Agriculture that their rural development aspect is not working. As far as we are concerned, the rural development department of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture is yet to encourage agriculture in Nigeria by developing rural setting where major food products are coming from. Rural farmers should be encouraged with amenities that would make transportation of the food items from rural localities to different parts of the country.