President Muhammadu Buhari has called on both educated and uneducated Nigerian youths to embrace farming in other to earn respect for themselves.
According to a statement on Tuesday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President spoke on Monday at Blair House, Washington DC after his White House engagements with United States’ President Donald Trump.
He was said to have spoken at a meeting with the Chief Executive Officers of six American agricultural companies and their Nigerian counterparts including Aliko Dangote and John Coumantaros.
The President reiterated his call on Nigerian youths to seize opportunities in agriculture, a sector of the economy he said was already proving to be the bedrock of the nation’s new economy.
He said the country must help the youth to plan their future and urged them to explore opportunities easily accessible in agriculture because, as he said, “agriculture is the future.”
While stressing that planning in Nigeria must take into consideration the factors of climate and a bulging youth population, Buhari also promised the support of his administration in the promotion of skill development, innovation and entrepreneurship among the young population.
He said, “We realised, rather belatedly that we ought to have been investing in agriculture. We are now aiming at food security because of our large population.
“Our youths, the ones who have gone to school and even those that have not, should go to the farm, to earn respect for themselves.
“Agriculture is providing jobs for millions of our citizens and we are doing well towards the attainment of food security and jobs.
“The media may not appreciate the work we are doing but we will shock them by the success we are recording.”
Buhari welcomed the several investment proposals being put in place by the Americans and their Nigerian counterparts.
Among those brought up for discussions were the three million tons fertiliser by Dangote, the largest in Africa coming on stream in July, to be followed by another one to produce 1.4 million tons of the commodity; a large-scale modern seed production company, and weed and pest management and chemicals products companies by the Americans.
Similarly, the Burger King food chain with plans to integrate local farmers in livestock production; the Heinz tomatoes production, with backward integration of Nigerian tomato farmers; and another company coming to set up a local branch to facilitate merchandising of commodities, in effect establishing a link between the Nigerian producers and the global market.
A tractor manufacturing company, John Deer, also unfolded a plan for an assembly plant to produce 10,000 tractors in four years in Nigeria. They will all come with jobs for Nigerians.