Former Head of Agricultural Economics Department, Faculty of Agriculture, Obafemi Awolowo University, (OAU), Ile-Ife, Professor Adeolu Ayanwale, on Saturday charged Nigerian youths to promote agriculture through technology.
Ayanwale gave the charge in Ile-Ife at a workshop organised for rural farmers with the theme: “Scaling-up Lifelong Learning for Farmers (L3F) in Nigeria”.
The workshop was sponsored by the Commonwealth of Learning, in conjunction with OAU and Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute (ARMTI).
“Learning is a continuous exercise and this will assist them to master the environment they are operating,” he said.
He noted that many of the youths “are out of school, dwelling in urban areas, mostly unemployed, but not interested in farming despite a lot of potential in the farm.
“There are a lot of potentials in using lifelong farming for farmers to ensure their inclusiveness. Youths and women can be included in agricultural programme of the government.
“We can also improve their productivity, output per unit area, such that at the end of the day the main aim of sustainability development goals will be achieved,” he said.
He also advised farmers to take interest in lifelong learning, “So that at the end of the day, everyone will be highly benefitted.”
Earlier, Prof. Adebayo Akinola, Head of Department of Agricultural Economics, OAU, said the programme was organised to bring together farmers, learning institutions and banks to facilitate learning for development in the rural area.
According to him, the workshop will empower vulnerable farmers and their families on skills development, increase productivity, food security and educate agricultural communities on socio-economic constraints.
He assured the participants that lifelong learning for farmers would improve their incomes through quality produce and eradicate poverty in the rural area.
“This makes it an inevitable tool for rural community development and a means for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals to eradicate hunger and poverty,” Akinola said.
The Executive Director, ARMTI, Dr. Olufemi Oladunni, while delivering his lecture on ‘Gender-responsive strategies for attainment of SDG’, said that discrimination among the genders especially women farmers, should be avoided.
Oladunni, who was represented by Dr. Adeola Aremu, a faculty member, suggested that the same opportunity should be given to both genders so as to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
He advocated for women involvement in the decision making in Gender-responsive strategies for the attainment of SDG.
Prof. Olanike Deji, Lecturer in the Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development, OAU, in his presentation on “Role of institutions towards achieving the SDG of Food Security”, urged government to work towards achieving food security.
According to her, agriculture in Nigeria is subsistence, with majority of the work force at the small scale level where they cultivate crops for family purposes.
“The three major workforce in agriculture that must be important target of every programme are: small scale family farmers, community rural women farmers and the youths.
“These three workforce are germane to achieve food security; they are major force in agriculture and agriculture value chain; they are the one that takes farm produce from level of production to the table of consumers.
“They are the majority of actors, but unfortunately, especially women are at the disadvantages end when it comes to access to resources, capacity building, recognition of their efforts, women are usually looked down upon,” she expressed.
She also said that as part of efforts at achieving food security, rural women should be given significant attention and empowered to engage in farming.