By Ifeanyi Nwoko
Plans are underway for drafting a new policy that would aid the involvement and employment of youths in various aspects of agriculture.
The National Institute for Legislative Studies (NILS), in collaboration with Partnership for African Social and Governance Research (PASGR) have commenced the process for the new policy.
At a stakeholders’ summit held in Abuja for researchers and policy makers, the need to also provide incentives for young people to be interested in Agriculture was also highlighted.
PASGR insisted that it was not enough to draft policies but it was imperative that such policies yielded the desired results of creating new jobs for new farmers.
At the stakeholders forum entitled: ‘Employment Creation in Agriculture and Agro-Processing in the Context of Inclusive Growth in Nigeria’, the NGO insisted that for youths to take interest in Agriculture, they must be encouraged through implementation of the right policies.
Speaking at the event, the Director General of NILS, Dr. Ladi Hamalai said that Agriculture was very important to national development.
“It used to employ over 50% of Nigerians until recently. Agriculture is also the basis for industrial raw materials.
“Once you are able to create the necessary linkage between industry and agriculture, you find out that there are various tops and in each top, you have tremendous opportunities for employing our teeming youths that are unemployed.
“So, this is an area that cannot only generate the requisite food production for the country but also create employment.
“This event will create the synergy between research and the policy makers: the two stakeholders can now develop policies that would have a chance of being very productive at the level of implementation.
“We also believe that since we have already created the synergy with the various MDAs and stakeholders, we cannot go wrong in our objective of creating national development.
“The forum that we are witnessing now is to reduce the risk in policy development implementation chain,” she said.
Speaking on the 1.8 per cent budget allocated to agriculture in 2017, Dr. Hamalai said the outcome of the forum would influence the process of legislation on the budget.
“We are hoping that the outcome of this particular forum will go to the agriculture and Labour Committees of the two chambers so that they will be well informed in scrutinizing the 2017 budget proposal.
“We are also hoping that as we realise some of these policy objectives and put more money in key sectors such as agriculture, health sand education,” she said.