Agriculture, in spite of its great strides over the years and its contribution to the Nigerian economy, remains one of the least attractive sectors to the Nigerian youths. A study on youths carried amongst youths in Southwestern universities in Nigeria showed that only about 21.5% of the respondents were willing to participate in agriculture; while 68.5% of the respondents were not willing to attend seminars that would encourage youths to participate in agriculture. Over half of the respondents attributed their unwillingness to participate in agriculture to “making one dirty”.
Although this may have been true in the past, the recent introduction of technology solutions to the agricultural sector has seen the participation of youths in agriculture increase. This can be attributed to improved access to funding opportunities, farm inputs, technological innovations and digital solutions in the agricultural sector.
Here are the major reasons why youths need to join agriculture:
It is a $5 Trillion Industry
The food and agriculture industry is a $5 trillion industry and it is ranked the 7th biggest industry in the world in 2021, according to Yahoo Finance. It is expected that the worth of the food and agriculture will increase, by 2050 it is projected to feed about 9.7 billion people. In order to meet that demand a 70% increase in agricultural production is required.
In 2030, Africa’s Agribusiness industry is projected to be worth $1 trillion.
Opportunity for Local Production
The Nigerian food and agriculture market is heavily dependent on imports to meet the demand for food consumption in the country. In a recent report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Nigeria spent about N1.3tr on agriculture between January to June 2021, while exports within that period was at N292.5bn. This resulted in a trade deficit of N1.07tn in the agricultural sector.
Mechanization and digital solutions have been highlighted as key factors that will boost agricultural productivity for smallholder farmers in Nigeria. There have also been calls by experts for more youths to drive agriculture in the country using technology.
By exploring agricultural technology youths can improve and increase the local production of food in Nigeria. Learn about how artificial intelligence in farming is making it more profitable.
Job Creation and Job Opportunities
You may not know this, but agriculture is the largest employer of labour and source of livelihood for most Nigerians. Agriculture provides employment for about 36% of Nigeria’s labour force and over 70% of Nigeria’s population are engaged in agriculture at a subsistence level.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria’s agricultural industry has a huge potential to reduce the employment deficit which currently stands at 42.5% unemployment rate.
The Managing Director of Babban Gona, Kola Masha, a leading Agricultural Entrepreneur in Nigeria, believes that youth unemployment in Nigeria can be reduced through agriculture.
Check out this blog post on careers in agriculture youths can explore. If you are interested in the agritech side of things, you can check out the top in-demand agritech jobs to get additional insights.
Contribution to The Economy
If your guess is as good as mine or you have been following the flow of this article, you should know by now that the agricultural sector is Nigeria’s biggest biggest contributor to the country’s National GDP.
The agricultural sector remains the largest contributor to the country’s national GDP over the past nine years (2013-2021). In the National Bureau of Statistics Nigerian Gross Domestic Product Report (Q2 2021), agriculture contribution to the GDP was 23.78%, while the trade sector had a contribution of 16.66%, telecommunications and information services – 14.42%, oil sector – 7.42% and real estate 5.28%.
The President of African Development Bank (ADB), Akinwumi Adesina has stated in the past that if properly nurtured, the agricultural sector would produce the next generation billionaires in Nigeria and the rest of Africa.
The agricultural industry is a goldmine waiting to be explored by the youths who can see the opportunities it holds.