Thursday, 13 March 2014

FG appoints D’banj as ambassador of new youth agriculture initiative

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Akinwunmi Adesina, has said that the Federal Government is set to roll out the Nigerian Agricultural Entrepreneurs, Nagroprenuers, initiative to attract youth to agriculture.

Mr. Adesina made this known while announcing one of Nigeria’s music icons, Dapo Oyebanjo, D’banj, as the Ambassador for the Nagroprenuers Initiative in Abuja.

He said the goal of the programme was to collect roughly 750, 000 young entrepreneurial farmers for the country, who which will become the engine in transforming Nigeria’s agriculture in the future. Read full story after the cut....

He said activities for the new face of agriculture programme will be rolled out this year.

“I will want D’banj to be the Ambassador for Nagroprenuers and to help communicate this initiative to youths.

“We want to change the labour component of agriculture; most farmers today are old at an average age of 60 years.

“We must get the younger people to imbibe agriculture as a business; that is why President Goodluck Jonathan launched a programme called Nigerian Agricultural Entrepreneurs (Nagroprenuers).”

Mr. Adesina said the future of the continent is in agriculture and that the future millionaires and billionaires would come from the sector.

The minister said that 65 per cent of arable land that would feed the world of nine billion people by 2050 was not in Asia, Latin America or Europe but in Africa. He said if Africa would save the world from hunger by 2050, there was the need to change the use of land in the continent and do agriculture in a way that would be interesting to the youth.

He said youth who would first benefit from the initiative would be young school leavers and graduates.

The minister said they would be given access to land, mechanise equipment and affordable finance, to enable them to get their business going.

In his remark, D’banj likened the agriculture sector to the music industry, saying both industries were not seen as capable of creating job, wealth and materials for export in the past.

The entertainment icon said music was the biggest export commodity of the country after crude oil.

He said agriculture is the future and the way forward and tasked the minister to support the Nigerian youth to get involved in agriculture.

“Growing up, I did not see agriculture as viable sector; I have been following the news under the minister and I am proud to be the ambassador to champion this move of youth involvement in agriculture.

“Let the youths be aware that if we don’t focus on agriculture, we may end up dying of hunger; I am volunteering to be an ambassador of agriculture under your leadership as minister.”

D’banj, the MOBO Best African Act Awards winner for 2012, said he was ready to establish a farm which would be known as ‘koko Farm’ which he would use to let the youth know how interesting agriculture can be.

He said that said under his partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture to promote youth involvement in the sector, he would be known as the ”koko farmer”.

D’banj is currently an ambassador for `ONE Campaign’, an organisation committed to raising public awareness and working with political leaders to combat AIDS.

ONE also advocates increased investments in agriculture and nutrition and demands greater transparency in poverty eradication fighting programmes.

ONE Director for Africa, Sipho Moyo, said the organisation was ready to launch a new initiative called “Do Agric, It Pays” and wanted to partner with Nigeria on the programme which would be launched on March 20.
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