The Leventis Foundation Nigeria has reassured its continuous commitment in building capacity in the agricultural sector and improving livelihoods, while producing food and generating employment and economic activities in the country.
The Executive Director, Leventis foundation, Dr. Hope Usieta, made this reassurance on Wednesday in Abuja, while celebrating youths on International Youth Day and converging ideas for growth and development in the agricultural sector.
The Daily Times Nigeria reports that the United Nations in 1999 through its General Assembly, endorsed the recommendation made by the world conference of Ministers responsible for youths, that 12 August each year be declared International Youth Day.
The theme for this year’s International Youth Day is Youth Engagement for Global action.
Speaking at the summit, Dr. Hope Usieta revealed that while the COVID 19 pandemic is bringing about a changed world, the foundation is committed towards finding new ways of working and new systems for sustainable agriculture, especially amongst youths in the country.
He stated, “This pandemic has laid bare the inadequacies across the agricultural production system and further exacerbated the uncertainties in the sector.
“We are aware of the current pandemic induced challenges on an already fragile agricultural system and are working to provide sustainable solutions and going forward, he said.”
At Leventis Foundation Nigeria, Usieta stated that the company takes pride in being the foremost organization dedicated to building technical capacity for youths and farmers in the area of sustainable agriculture.
Noting the several roles played by the foundation, he disclosed that, for over 30 years in supporting and developing communities towards sustainable agriculture growth and economic progress, the company has empowered more than 27,000 youths for free under the one – year regular training programme and short courses with over 32 billion naira spent on training.
He stated, “For us, we have done quite a lot. In 30 years plus, we have trained more than 27,000 youths and farmers in different aspect of agriculture. We have done this in partnership with state governments.
“We have also created job opportunities and employment for youths, while also assisting to generating economic activities in the country.
He added, “Our core activity is centered on agricultural development, where we have established 6 agricultural training schools.
“Our mission here has been to attract youths into agriculture as well as train and support them to adopt improved, Eco-friendly farming practices and technology aimed at reducing drudgery, while increasing the national food basket, and ensuring enhanced sustained livelihood for the farming families, he said.
Meanwhile as part of the means to propagate youth empowerment and sustainable solutions for food security and global agriculture, Mrs. Agnes Yusuf, the Centre manager of the foundation who spoke at the event, urged youths to take up the innovative practices of Agribusiness opportunities.
Yusuf stated, “Most young persons do not see themselves taking up agriculture as a means of livelihood and this is a very big challenge for the future and survival of humanity.
“There are so many opportunities that are bound in agriculture and several innovations that youths can take advantage of, to position themselves and their farm businesses in the global market, but this is not the situation.
“Agriculture has gone beyond just tilling the ground and raising animals.
“Today we have career opportunities in research, environment, finance, engineering and other technical areas that youths can take advantage of, she emphasized.”
Furthermore she stated, “A few areas youths can find opportunities are: Crop production, agro forestry, i.e. ornamental, orchards, horticulture, beekeeping, medicinal crop production, vegetable farming, etc.
“Other agricultural opportunities include livestock farming, fishery, snailery, mushrooms, organic farming, spices, etc.
While adding, “Processing, farm mechanization, transportation, e-farming, consultancy, recycling and biotechnology, agricultural training, agricultural tourism, agricultural journalism, as more innovative career opportunities youths can leverage on.
In the interim, the Nigerian representative African Union Economic, Social and Cultural Council (AU ESOSOCC), Dr. Tunji Asaolu, who was present at the summit revealed the various Africa Agriculture Development programmes initiated by the African union to engage more youths in modern agricultural practices.
Asaolu who revealed the unions tenacity in ensuring these programme are implemented by 2063, also assured the foundation of its support and collaboration for sustainable agricultural development in the country.
“We are strategically leveraging on the demographic and comparative advantage of young people with the focus of creating the enabling environment for young to start and grow functional agricultural microenterprises in the agricultural value chain,” he noted.
The representative said, “I here avail the AU ECOSOCC support to Leventis foundation Nigeria in increasing the number of youths to be empowered in Agricbusiness to meet collective target of youth Engagement for Global action.”
The Daily Times Nigeria, reports that the summit was not without announcement of grants and goodwill messages from various participants and distinguished guests.