THE President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday, sought the involvement of more Nigerian youths in agriculture.
He urged agencies involved in agriculture to further streamline their priorities in the inclusion of the youth in driving modern methods of farming.
According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the President spoke at the inauguration of the National Young Farmers Scheme designed by the National Agricultural Land Development Authority.
The statement was titled, ‘More youth inclusion in modern agriculture will bolster economy, improve earnings, says President Buhari’.
Buhari was quoted as assuring those interested that an enabling environment would be created for full participation.
He described agriculture as the backbone of the Nigerian economy, being the largest contributor to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.
“I have directed that all NALDA’s abandoned farm estates be retrieved to enable thousands of our young men and women to be engaged in farming.
“This administration will be achieving agricultural mechanisation through this scheme and I am confident that Nigeria under my watch will achieve food security in producing most of what we eat.
“In good harvest years, we may even export our surpluses and earn foreign exchange. By virtue of my passion and desire for agriculture and also as a farmer myself, I am directly supervising NALDA as an authority under the Presidency.
“I am told that so far, 4,333 families have benefited from this scheme and it is expected that many more individuals and families will benefit as the programme is rolled out,” the President added.
The Executive Secretary/CEO of NALDA, Mr Paul Ikonne, said the discovery of oil in the country hampered the growth of agriculture and increased poverty in rural communities, assuring the President that the concerted effort to revive interest in farming would tackle poverty and create wealth.