National President of All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, Prince Ike Ubaka has advocated adequate training for youths who are interested in agriculture in order to achieve food security and additional employment in the country.
Ubaka warned government to desist from making agriculture an “all comers affair” and “dumping ground” for unskilled youths if the nation’s food security would be achieved.
The AFAN president, who spoke with journalists after his investiture as the Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants, IMC, in Abuja, decried a situation where the youth are encouraged by the government to take agriculture as an occupation without requisite training and knowledge.
He contended that graduates of agriculture should be encouraged to practice agriculture through the provision of incentives and enabling environment by government to ensure optimal food productivity in Nigeria.
“I want to say that agriculture cannot be a dumping ground for the youths. It is a knowledge based and it is the real sector and not an all comers thing.
“You cannot just say go to farming or agricultural practice without the relevant skills. You should have adequate knowledge of what you are going into, whether it is crop or livestock or fishing production.
“We have to change the language that we use for agriculture because that is where we get it wrong. This is because we take agriculture as a dumping ground for all.
“Those going into agriculture we need to ask, what knowledge do they have before going into farming? It is wrong to ask desperados to go into farming or agriculture. So agriculture should not be a dumping ground”, he stressed.
Ubaka also advised the federal government to carry states and local governments along in the implementation of its School Feeding Programme for 30 million Nigerian children planned to begin in 2016 in order to guarantee its success and sustainability.
The AFAN president particularly decried high rate of malnutrition among Nigerian children, adding that over 50 per cent of children in the country were malnourished.
“Most of our children go to bed with empty stomachs; their parents cannot work and cannot employ themselves, so they don’t earn a living.
“And if you as a parent cannot fend for yourself, how would you fend for your children? In fact, more than 50 per cent of Nigerian children are malnourished.
“Even in the cities you have poverty trapped people, they came to cities in search of greener pasture but they are trapped because they cannot earn a living. Many of them don’t have the skills and there is nothing to employ them for”, Ubaka stressed.
He also noted that most of the social vices witnessed in the country today are fuelled by hunger and deprivation, adding that malnutrition and deprivation lead to aggression among the populace.

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