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FOOD SECURITY: ENCOURAGING YOUTH PARTICIPATION IN AGRICULTURE

Agriculture has been acknowledged as the most important sector in the on-going effort to diversify the country’s revenue base away from overdependence on oil. Before the discovery of crude oil, agricultural sector in Nigeria played a major role in job creation and food sufficiency. The sector recorded encouraging growth due to better pricing and volume produced and was the major earner of foreign exchange.
The inclination of the youth towards agriculture in the country is particularly low given unattractiveness of sector. In the recent State of Osun MDA restructuring, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security was renamed Ministry of Agriculture, Food security and Youth Engagement to invigorate the sector. The effort has increased the participation of youths especially OYES (Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme) cadets in growing food crops, vegetables and animal production.

The emphasis on youth engagement in agriculture will engender wider application of modern technology, production of high quality and value added products, unlocking the potentials in biotechnology, increased convergence with Information and Communications Technology (ICT), and the participation of entrepreneurial farmers and skilled workforce. Meanwhile, the involvement of youths in agriculture is not only creating new career opportunities but also increasing food supply thereby filing the gap created by ageing farmers whose productivity is on the decline.

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