The Managing Director, Odu’a Investment Company Limited, Mr. Adebayo Jimoh, says an Osun-Odu’a Farmers Academy has been established to teach the youth good agricultural practices in order to boost food security.
Jimoh said this on Thursday at the graduation of 410 trainees of the academy, which is located in Ede, Osun State.
According to him, the academy will stimulate youth interest in agriculture to ensure that there are replacements for the ageing farmers.
He said it was worrisome that ageing farmers were the only set of people left on the farms to produce food for the teeming population of Nigeria.
But he said that with the academy, which the company established in 2009 and now being operated in collaboration with the Osun State Government, there would be opportunities for the youth to learn modern agricultural practices, which would boost food production.
He said, “You will agree with me that the 21st Century agriculture is being challenged to produce and deliver high quality, nutritious, affordable food to a growing population while sharing limited land and other resources with all other human needs and activities.
“The Nigerian farmers across the country are also getting old (with an average of 60 years of age) hence the need for the training of young skilled farmers to continue in this vital profession, providing food security and caring for our agricultural lands and their surrounding ecosystems.
“Odu’a Investment is happy to partner with the state to provide the highest level of qualitative and modern training for new and emerging commercial farmers in viable food commodities with a view to sustaining food security in Nigeria.”
Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State said that his administration’s involvement of youths in agricultural enterprises was a way of tackling the menace of youth unemployment.
Aregbesola explained that the programme was borne out of the administration’s commitment to equip the youth and enhance their capacity to earn decent and virtuous living.
He said, “What we are witnessing today is the culmination of our administration’s resolve to equip our youths with requisite skills that will enable them to contribute adequately to agricultural production, even as they legitimately earn a decent living.
“The practical training in modern farming techniques would have broadened the horizons of the participants and added depth to their managerial abilities as well as strengthened them to creatively address societal challenges through agricultural endeavours.”