Youth Advocates Nigeria (YAN) has begun an aggressive move towards revolutionising agriculture in the country by removing the stigma of poverty associated with it.The visionary group of young professionals led by Aina Tolulope, an Agricultural Economics graduate of the University of Ibadan, converged in Ibadan, Oyo State, at the weekend, for a seminar on how to collaborate, synergise and harness the available resources in the agriculture sector, locally, nationally and internationally, to take the youth away from the dense labour market.
YAN comprises enterprising farmers on fish, maize, lettuce, cassava among others.Entrepreneurs who gave motivational talks at the seminar include Olayinka Ayowole, an agronomist and CEO of Viyola Foods; Yinka Adesola, a practical organic farming entrepreneur; Abayomi Egbemode, CEO of Dipo Integrated Farms; Sam Ogbone, a bio-technologist and expert in modern soil-less farming; Oluwafemi Aliu, Babatunde Oladimeji, among others.
The youth group aims "to connect, equip and empower the next generation of agricultural change-makers to take collaborative and innovative action towards feeding the nation and the world."
Tolulope, who revealed that the group's vision "is that of a world where young dynamic youths can take centre stage in creating a world without hunger. Over the years, there have been a lot of challenges in the agric space. A lot of people who come into it see it as unattractive.
"Now, we have a generation of young farmers who are passionate about this sector. But a lot of things do not work, and we need to make it work by coming together and having a strong voice that can harness opportunities within our space, and push a movement that can make things work and affect us.
"We don't want to be a generation of farmers that will be poor because we are not poor; we cannot be poor. We are sophisticated and changing the face of agric tech through improved agri-business practices." Aside the challenge of finance to agricultural production, majority of the speakers at the seminar blamed epileptic power supply, leading to compulsory purchase of fuel for production and processing."This results in non-productivity among stakeholders in the sector," they submitted.