Former Commissioner for Agriculture in Lagos State and current Oniru of Iruland, Oba Gbolahan Lawal has lamented that the country’s small holding farmers still incapacitated by lack of access to financial services.
Oniru explained that unavailability of finance chased out many especially the youths who could have used innovation and creativity to revolutionize the sector.
Oba Gbolahan said this while responding to the theme- Transforming food systems: Youth innovation for human and planetary health at the event recently held in Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) premises.
He, therefore, urged governments at all levels to leverage on its bourgeoning youthful population to change the face of its agricultural sector that would provide employment opportunities to the unemployed.
The Former Commissioner, however, lauded start-ups doing their best despite the harsh economic conditions, urging them not to rest on their oars.
“Our small holding farmers still do not have access to financial services which would have given them more opportunities to explore the agricultural sector.
“In Nigeria today, the youths are offering digital innovation and solutions that cover produce, product and services within the agricultural value chain.
“There are several start-ups operating across the federation such as farmcrowdy, pay farmer, and many more but they have the challenges of funding.
“If the federal and government state government can empower the youths in agriculture, there would be improvement in the value chain and unemployment will be reduced drastically” Oniru said.
Speaking also, The United Nations (UN) Resident & Humanitarian Coordinator, Edward Kallon said that Nigeria’s transformation should transcend the country’s energy system but also the food systems.
Kallon noted that the Nigerian Youths are capable of revolutionizing the agricultural sector due to their innovation and creativity.
The Resident Coordinator explained that the climate challenge can be addressed by the youths through food transformation.
Also, the Director-General, Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Professor Eghosa Osaghae, who described the Nigerian Youths as the foundation upon which the country is laid, said they need to be patriotic, nationalistic and have the love of the country at heart.
Professor Osaghae noted that these are the critical elements to build the youths within the binding framework with national aspirations.