AGRICULTURE, ICT AND NIGERIAN YOUTHS: BRIDGING THE GAP

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has said that world population is expected to surpass the 9 billion mark by 2050, and agricultural production will need to increase marginally so as to meet the additional food demand. Apparently, Nigeria has a critical role to play in circumventing this potential challenge.

The demographics of Nigeria reveal that the median age of the country is actually 18.4 years. That is, the average citizen in Nigeria is a youth. Obviously, If Nigeria must blissfully play her role in agriculture as she ought to, her youths must be become more involved than ever.

Many young persons have strong affinities to social media platforms and other ICT related engagements. With a lot of energy, creativity, and enthusiasm Nigerian youths have been able to maximize ICT on several fronts such as digital marketing, e-learning, e-business etc. Agriculture can also enjoy these potentials from the youth forum.

For the food demands of the nation, continent and even the globe to be met, young people must actively participate in all sectors on the agriculture value chain; from production to processing to marketing to supply. However, if agriculture will regain its attractiveness in Nigeria, the portrait of agriculture ought to change. One of the ways to ignite the interests of the Nigerian youths and thus reintegrate them in commercial agriculture is to galvanize agriculture with ICT. Young people must begin to see the dignity in farming; young people must begin to have a mind shift which informs them that agriculture is not archaic and unprofitable.

Agriculture ought to be knitted with the effulgence of ICT. This can be done through various initiatives, such as better integrating ICTs in record keeping, promoting agriculture via social media platforms, creating virtual markets that help farmers connect to markets more easily and get better prices, developing ICT applications for agricultural value chains, ICT-enable services such as e-extension and precision agriculture.

With ICTs, the landscape of agriculture improves marginally and thus benefits all stakeholders.

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