Agriculture has long been perceived as a profession for the hopeless- especially unemployed youth in the society.
Several years ago, people only practised agriculture as mere engagement and, as a societal norm but the recent trends in the agricultural industry has made it clear that the opportunities in agriculture cannot be overemphasized.
There are many basic needs of life but food is a paramount basic need of man and so, the demand for agricultural products across the globe is on the rise while population growth is also increasing. The increase in both food demands and population growth serve as indicators to strengthen food production while exploring all the existing opportunities across the agricultural value chain.
Given the recent financing support, commitment and entrepreneurship development programmes from government agencies, African Development Bank, donor agencies, non-governmental agencies, philanthropists and private sector players, thus, the youth are to be encouraged to upscale their entrepreneurial skills and look into agriculture in order to explore the existing opportunities.
Building on the existing structure of YPARD to promote agriculture among youth, YPARD Nigeria organized an agricultural summit on the 21st of April 2018 in Delta state, Nigeria with the theme "Opportunities in agriculture". The theme was phrased out of the inscription on the YPARD customized shirt, Opportunities in agriculture; youd be surprised!.
The one-day summit which had in attendance thirty-three young people started with a presentation on what YPARD is all about and its role in promoting agriculture among young people. The local representative of YPARD for the state emphasized the importance of the summits theme as a means to engage youth in agriculture and thus, explore the opportunities that exist along the value chain.
Areas of discussion included poultry production, fish farming, heliciculture, grasscutter farming, vegetable farming, tips on writing a bankable business plan, food processing and value addition.
The different speakers explicitly explained the different niches young people could explore in the agribusiness enterprises, using case studies, real-life situations and success stories of young farmers. The participants were made to understand that every aspect of agriculture gives high profitability returns if there is the willingness and desire to acquire proper training in the area of their interest. These opportunities for such training will be made available by YPARD Nigeria.
During the panel session, the panellists, comprising seven young farmers within the YPARD network shared their experiences on the farm and also on how farming has empowered them to be financially independent while creating employment for people.
The summit ended with a presentation on how to create a business plan and the importance of a business plan to every entrepreneur, particularly agriculture and agribusiness. This was followed by networking session among the participants.