President of the Enugu State Young Farmers Association (ENSYFA), Kenneth Ezeh, has called on the state government to make agriculture attractive to the youth by making land available, providing capital and training the farmers for them to contribute to the growth of agriculture in the state.
He made the call on Tuesday, during his presentation at the youth export development programme oganised by the Enugu state young farmers Association ,ENSYFA, in conjunction with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council NEPC ,South East zone in Enugu.
In his presentation on a Theme, “Making agricultural Export attractive to youth”, Ezeh, spoke on why the youths were not engaging in Agriculture, how to bridge the gap, how technology integration can make farming more efficient, sustainable and appealing to young people, especially in Enugu State.
He said that Agriculture can be made attractive to youths in Enugu state by promoting Farming in Primary schools to raise young people’s interest in the food sector.
He showcased various Farm Apps and Technology that could be used to know everything about Agriculture and farming from day of planting to harvest.
He listed some of the challenges young people in Enugu state face in Agriculture, to include scarcity of lands, capital, and the technological know – how.
Ezeh appealed to Enugu State Government to ensure that the right set of young farmers are empowered and supported in Agriculture and not bringing in their friends and family members when it’s time to give loans and grants.
In her welcome address, the NEPC south east regional Coordinator, Mrs Esther Ikpeorah said that the Youth Export Development Programme(YEXDEP) is a platform created by NEPC for the mainstreaming of youths into the non- oil export value chain using export promotion to realize the concerned targets of the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs .
She said the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, (NEPC) is a federal government’s Apex institution for the promotion, development and diversification of exports.
“NEPC has over the years, worked to achieve it’s mandate by coordinating and harmonizing export development and promotion activities in the country, taking the lead in all national export programmes and interfacing with international trade agencies on Corporation and capacity building, Ikpeora said.
She noted that the Theme of the workshop , “Making agricultural export attractive to youths” , was aimed at getting the youth develop interest in Agricultural produce and exportation.
Ikpeora hinted that there was a clarion call for diversification of Nigeria’s economy and people should embrace agriculture.
She said that NEPC observed the strength in Nigerian youth, what they can do and came up with the development programme.
The South East coordinator hinted that the beneficiaries of the programme are youths with no experience in non- oil export as well as youths already engaged in various export related ventures.
“At NEPC, we recognise the massive potential of youths in development of the economy in general and in the non- oil export sector in particular.
“Opportunities abound for youths in the export of non- oil goods and services and the Council is committed to assisting youths harness these opportunities.
“The council has a special unit dedicated to youths under her youth export development programme(YEXDEP). In addition, the Council has created separate youths desks in NEPC offices across the country to enable her interface adequately with the youths towards encouraging them imbibe the export culture”, Ikpeorah said .
She listed the strategies of the programme to include identifying youth entrepreneurs, liaising with youth groups, sensitization and capacity building for youths” .
The southeast Coordinator disclosed that the Council had trained over two thousand youths in various sectors of the economy and “quite a lot of them are exporting today.
” It is hoped that at the end of today’s programme, participants would be better prepared to venture into the international market and export quality, value,added non- oil Agricultural products and services from Nigeria,” she said.
On the issue of Export, Emmanuel narrated how youths can register with the council and be certified with all the necessary documents to Export.
Special guests who spoke at the event,
advised that Agriculture should be mechanised for it to be attractive to the youth and yield the desired result.
They appealed to the youth to come together as a union and decide on area of interest inorder to boost their agricultural productivity for export.
In his goodwill message, the immediate past Commissioner for Agriculture ,Enugu state, Hon. Mathew Iduh, commended NEPC for organizing the programme. He expressed the joy that youths had started going into agriculture, saying, that Agriculture should be made attractive to youths so that they can go into it
Iduh was of the view that agriculture has to be mechanised so that it could be attractive to the youth.
The former Commissioner for Agriculture, commended the group for organizing themselves in such a good manner from the onset they came to him. He said Kenneth Eze has been consistent and should be given all the necessary support to go further
Others who delivered goodwill messages were a former commissioner for agriculture, Achi Kalu and the president of Women in Agriculture , Mrs Lovely Ejim. They all appluaded NEPC for their support to the youths,
Ejim adviced the youth to follow the line if they must export. ” In production, don’t jump the line if you want to export, go organic,it pays”, she said.
She thanked the President, Kenneth Eze for pulling up such a programme and advised that the association should stay together and do things together, as that’s the only way they can go far.
Hon. Ogbonna Onyeisi, the chairman Enugu Agricultural Development Programme (ENADEP) also thanked the President for calling the youths together. He urged them to continue the good work ,assuring them of his continuous support .
A guest, Hon. Ekene Uzodinma also lent his voice saying that the group has not just shown passion but total commitment and dedication to making sure that youths go into Agriculture. He commended the group and urged them to continue doing the good work.
Author: Maureen Ikpeama