By ibrahima pima yakubu
The contribution of rural youth in agricultural development in Northern Nigeria cannot be over emphasized , this is simply because of the various role they immensely play in the daily fight against food scarcity, poverty, hunger,famine and how they tackled artificial created scarcity of foodstuff , and other cash crops in the markets by middlemen activities
The major problems encountered by Nigerian youths in agriculture in Kaduna, Kano ,sokoto ,zamfara ,kebbi, Abuja ,Kogi ,Jigawa Include Lack Of Modern Farm Machines / Techniques, lack of competitive market for agricultural products, lack of start-up capital, inadequate labour saving technologies for ease of operations, inadequate finance/credit facilities, Lack Of Food Storage or Processing Facilities, Lack Of Scientific & Technological Know-how, Lack Of Road; Water & Electricity ,school ,health and Use Of Manual Farm Tools / Methods.
In an interview with Mallam Umaru Magaji ,who is a youth and a farmer at Sayin Lemo alone zaria kaduna state north western Nigeria says ,Youth participation in agriculture is definitely the only means to reduce unemployment rate in northern Nigeria because agriculture remind one of the means of generating sustainable income in a developing nation like Nigeria and many other neighboring African region
He said, inability to accept change from traditional and cultural farm practices to modern farming ,and the difficulty in accessing resources such as land, finance and market information ,with also the increasing numbers of Natural hazards/disaster such as flooding, earthtremous ,Riverband erosion and desertification ,all these appear to be some of the challenges affecting rural youth farmers in Nigeria especially from 19 northern states of the country
Increase migration in the search of white collar-jobs in the cities, and the discovery of petroleum in Nigeria is also another point to look at
Rural youth farmers which include Teenagers ,boy and girls have indeed contribute huge percent of food supply to the family through subsistence farming ,and which is aimed at feeding the family and very little for sale.
These challenges apply broadly to all rural youth in developing countries. Youth under 18 face additional, or different, challenges in accessing decent jobs or becoming successful entrepreneurs. For example, their status as minors can lead to discrimination in hiring and impede access to productive resources and services, such as finance, or their membership in representative organizations of farmers
In a research conducted by African climate reporters in 2010, it revealed that ,high cost of adopting modern mechanized farming ,and high cost of maintenance of equipment seems to be one of the problems discouraging Northern Nigerian youth farmers for embracing mechanize farming fully in the region,
The report also indicate clearly how large number of rural youth are migrating to Nigerian major cities, due to lack of social amenities and educative programmed by both state and federal Government through agricultural extension workers in other to halt the movement of rural youth farmers from villages to the cities across the 36 states of the country
The young farmer also pointed out that fraud, dishonesty, and
corruption in the society are some of the contributory factors ,adding also that politics, rivalries and envy among youth in the village play another role.
Also in another report by” Developmental reporters” in Nigeria ,Farmers and investors in farming are getting nervous as rising insecurity in the country is putting their investments at risk. for instance, where the Boko Haram insurgency has been most rife, over the past four years, farmers are no longer able to go to their farms or grow crops for fear of attacks by the dreaded Boko Haram sect who kill, destroy their crops or harvest them to feed their flock of fighters.
Many rural farmers have been displaced, while others have been restricted from going to their farms because of checks and heavy military approach being adopted by the government in fighting terrorism.
The continuous kidnapped, detained and killing of rural farmers across the 19 northern state of is seriously affecting agriculture and many has now resolved to abandoned their farmland due to increasing insecurity challenges in the region
There is no doubt that this problems has affected food production and the region is might like face famine and scarcity of foodstuff this year
Local Non-governmental organization NGO and Civil society organization CSO with other stake holders on agricultural production in Nigeria with other agencies have been appealing to the world for aid and support to the region to prevent imminent hunger and starvation as a result of lack of food that might likely happen this year
Another rural farmer sambo Auta residing at kachia local government of kaduna state says ,Nigeria is playing with its food security and food survival,due to lack of support to educate youth farmers through extension workers
Auta makes the statement at a weekly community market in the area ,stressing that ,Rural youth are the future of food security and rural poverty reduction,that need all the necessary support.
Global Warming is also part of the Major Problems of Food and Agriculture in Nigeria. Forest Destructions and Over-grazing of Animals has really turned a lot of Nigeria’s Farmlands into Deserts. Like in other Countries of the World, several Lakes; Rivers; Streams and Rain Forests have actually Disappeared.
Many Nigerian Farming Communities that only Depends on Rainfall, are now faced with Severe Droughts, Erosions, Landslides; Deforestations and An Excessive Massive Loss of Crops and Animals. All these are some of the Real Impacts of Global Warming on Nigeria’s Agriculture and Food Production.
Auta additionally noted that, one of the Major Problems of Food Production is Poverty. On the other hand, one of the Simplest and a Doubtless Truth that you can easily Know about Nigeria is the fact that over 75% of Her Rural Dwellers are Full-time Farmers.
In other to solved the problems rural youth farmers are facing in northern Nigeria, African climate reporters therefore suggested some of the ways to encourage youth participation in agriculture ,which include calling on government to invest in training the youths in order to ensure successful participation of youths in agriculture,also Government should ensure that farm implements are sold to youths farmers at subsidized rates. Farm machineries such as: ploughs, ridgers, tractors, cultivators and so on should be sold at a very affordable rates to encourage youths to participate in agriculture.
Government should improve easy access to resources such as land, capital,technology and information to the youth
in conclusion Government at all level must find means of ending Nomad and pastoral clashes in the village,so as to reduce the killing of innocents Nigerians,and that Governmnent should encourage women farmers