AfDB, NIRSAL partner on $300m youth agriculture project
Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), has disclosed that the Africa Development (ADB) is investing about $300m on a project called ‘Youth Enable’ that will create a successor farmer generation to replace the ageing ones.
The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, NIRSAL, Aliyu Abdulhameed, disclosed this yesterday, at the Nigeria Economic Outlook Conference (NEOC) 2017, held in Lagos.
Due to the way it is being practiced, Nigerian youths are not attracted to farming and would rather migrate to the cities to look for greener pastures, even if they remained unemployed for years.
The mass exodus of youths from the rural to urban areas compounds development challenges in terms of infrastructure provision and job creation opportunities, thus leading to high rate of crimes and criminal activities among the youths.
The objective of the Youth Enable project is to boost economic diversification and create business opportunities and employable skills for young women and men along priority agriculture value chains of various enterprises, including aquaculture, crops farming, marketing, processing and a host of others.
Abdulhameed stated that AfDB has recognised NIRSAL, through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, to be the implementing partner for the project, adding that the Bank is trying to raise a generation of youths into agriculture that is technology driven and makes economic sense.
Speaking on theme: Agriculture as a key driver of Nigeria’s economy,
The NIRSAL boss noted that although Nigeria has the capacity to feed Africa, but it has failed to put in place the right policies to enrich the sector.
“Our job is to translate the policies into practical projects that are sustainable and financeable. We need to include the farmers by converting their comparative advantage into competitive advantage,” he said.
To this end, he commended President Muhammadu Buhari and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor for their support for Agriculture.