Our youths, our agriculture and the need for a specialized fund by sotonye anga


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Our young men and women remains a powerful force that when giving the right direction and support will drive the Agricultural revolution of Nigeria and create for us a prosperous Economy that is based, driven and premised on Agriculture. In putting all this together the message is very Simple, Nigeria needs to turn to its youths and empower them enough to take Agriculture to enviable heights, reduce unemployment and create wealth for the Nation. “I believe in the youths of Nigeria and I am convinced that with the right investments in our youths, they will make the difference that will make all the difference in Nigeria’s Agriculture.
Nigeria’s youth population require support in order to engage in meaningful Agribusiness, and this support will range from capacity building by way of training, mentoring to financing.

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Our youths, our agriculture and the need for a specialized fund by sotonye anga

  1. 1. THE ENCOUNTER AT UNIVERSITY OF LAGOS SEMINAR ON JOB CREATIONWITH SOTONYE ANGA, COORDINATOR, AGRIBUSINESS AND YOUTHEMPOWERMENT, COMMUNITY OF AGRICULTURAL STAKEHOLDERS OFNIGERIA (CASON).Something happens when desperate and determined peopleplace demand on your ability. Ideas are unleashed and historyis made. This was the case when Mr. Anga visited theUniversity of Lagos (UNILAG) on June 13, 2013 as guestspeaker at the Job Creation Seminar of the great Akokites.After Mr. Anga’s Presentation, a group of Students followedhim out of the Multipurpose Hall where the Seminar held andthey asked him “How can we become Agripreneurs with littlemoney, just as you said during the presentation?This simple question opened a new vista, the presentationstarted with these words “I SEE A NEW BREED OFAGRIPENEURS IN NIGERIA”.Agripreneurs are people engaged in the business ofAgriculture.When you take up any aspect of Agriculture as a business youare an AGRIPRENEUR.Bill Gates with all his wealth and expertise, when it comes tocomputers and software cannot survive without food and toproduce the food we eat, we need Agripreneurs to get down tobusiness.The Agricultural Value Chain is fully loaded with diverseAgribusiness opportunities that begins from the Farm to theTable. At the farm the seed is planted and looked after until it
  2. 2. reaches maturity, it is then harvested, stored, packaged andsold as food and served right on our tables.A whole lot of process is involved from Farm to Table. It is alarge network that involves several players, this is whyAgribusiness has space for a lot of people. It also explains thereason why Agribusiness remains one sector that can quicklycreate jobs for our young people. The Agricultural potential ofNigeria is HUGE and yet to be exploited and we need to placedemand on this potential.Potential will remain potential and cannot benefit anybody ornation. For potential to be anything meaningful, we need toturn potential into something that empowers, benefits andenriches. A corresponding action is required for potential toachieve anything.Potential cannot convert itself. People need to get into action.The agricultural potential of Nigeria is very visible and liveswith us. A drive across the country from Lagos to Kano leavesour mouths opened as we see vast uncultivated land overgrownwith weed and bushes. These land can be put to better use. Wecan do mechanized farming producing the food we need to eat.When we do this, we will have our youths actively engaged inmechanized farming, growing various crops that are requiredas food locally, so our growing local population can be well fedat an affordable cost and also grow crops for export markets.Today, Nigeria with a growing population of over 160 millionpeople imports Rice, Sugar, Wheat, Vegetable Oil and others.Spending Billions of Dollars annually importing thesecommodities while our major Export is Crude Oil.
  3. 3. Crude Oil is non-renewable resource and as such we cannotcontinue to depend on it for revenue. The big question is whatwill we do if our crude oil wells go dry?We all know the answer but we do not need to wait till thishappens. We need to start now doing the right things todiversify the Economy of Nigeria.Our young men and women remains a powerful force thatwhen giving the right direction and support will drive theAgricultural revolution of Nigeria and create for us the“GREEN ECONOMY”. An Economy that is based, driven andpremised on Agriculture.Youth means PowerYouth means EnergyYouth means DriveYouth means Tremendous PotentialYouth Means Limitless PossibilitiesIn putting all this together the message is very Simple, Nigerianeeds to turn to its youths and empower them enough to takeAgriculture to enviable heights, reduce unemployment andcreate wealth for the Nation.“I believe in the youths of Nigeria and I am convinced thatwith the right investments in our youths, they will make thedifference that will make all the difference in Nigeria’sAgriculture.Nigeria’s youth population require support in order to engagein meaningful Agribusiness, and this support will range fromcapacity building by way of training, mentoring to financing.There is therefore, an urgent need for a specialized funding foryouths in Agriculture. I strongly recommend a NIGERIANAGRIBUSINESS FUND FOR YOUTHS (NAFFY).
  4. 4. This fund will be exclusively used for financing NigerianYouths and made easy for access by our youths. No collateralrequired, priced at single digit, purely for youths andexclusively for Agribusiness.Nigerian Youths from ages 18 - 40 can access this fund for usein any Agribusiness of their choosing.In crafting this fund, we need to take into consideration thatthe average graduate youth do not have a house or property togive as collateral and this is why they require specialattention.With a 50 Billion Naira fund size at least 50,000 or moreyouths will be engaged and established in variousAgribusiness. These 50,000 youths will in turn employ 2youths resulting in 150,000 jobs in just a year, so you see themultiplier effect?With this strategy we can quickly create jobs for our youths.It is of importance to note that transforming Nigeria’sAgricultural sector will require very radical, creative, andpractical approach. This is why President Goodluck Jonathanshould be applauded for the choice of Dr. Akinwunmi Adesinaas Minister for Agriculture. Under Dr. Adesina as Minister hehas been able to talk Nigeria into seeing Agriculture as abusiness, his talks have brought about a new awakening andinterest for Agriculture in Nigeria. He introduced the Staplecrop processing zone and other novel initiatives to grow thenation’s Agriculture. He got us to see what we lose by our hugefood import bills and what we stand to benefit if we cansubstitute import of food with local production of same. TheFood importing cartel will not love such a minister ofAgriculture.However, no matter what people may choose to say or think hehas created a path for Nigeria’s Agricultural revolution and we
  5. 5. need to build on it and support him enough for this path to befully actualized and realized. All that is required is focus,discipline and time and Nigeria’s Agriculture will never be thesame again.Ladies and Gentlemen, Ideas rule the world and this is true.Under the “ambush” of these young Unilag students, three (3)major Agribusinesses were produced right there and then, thatthey can start and begin to create wealth from, with less than50,000 Naira.I said to the youths “I will be looking forward to who will bethe first to start any of these three Agribusiness ideas.FIRST BUSINESS INITIATIVE:“WELL PEPPERED BARBEQUED BOLI”THE BUSINESS: Get women that are already experienced inroasting boli.(plantain) Keep them at strategic places withinthe campus with their boli stands (grill), they will be uniquelydressed with a beautiful banner behind each stand; with fiveor more stand you have already created a franchise. You canget your raw plantain from outside Lagos in Oyo, Ogun, Ondoand Edo States. These are some sources of cheap rawmaterials (plantain). So you buy these plantains in pick uploads and then you feed your network of roasters.This way, you create a means of livelihood and also createemployment and offer students a Healthy Snack that willimprove their health.
  6. 6. SECOND BUSINESS INITIATIVE:“ONE FINGER”“One Finger” is a unique business proposition, in this businessthe Idea is to sell just one banana for N10 Only. You can useBicycles to deliver banana, so as student’s are going forlectures they can just pay N10 for a stalk of banana and eathealthy. The Agripreneur in this case will be known as “OneFinger”. So students and people can buy as many one fingerbanana as possible.THIRD BUSINESS INITIATIVE:“QUICK GARRI SNACK”Here, all you need is Nylon and sealer. The individual buysGari, Sugar and Groundnut in bulk; these three is packedtogether in a nylon that will be easy to carry around, so thestudents can buy from between N10 - N20 a piece and ready-to-eat.For all these Agribusinesses, the unique thing is that, they arevery simple initiatives that students can start and build whilestill in school. Also, they are not too expensive to start but theywill require students to be determined.For me, I count it as a privilege to share with these greatstudents and I am excited at the employment opportunitythese initiatives and others can create in the lives of thesestars.