Former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, has against youths embarking on agriculture investment with high-interest bank loans up to 20 per cent interest rate.
According to the ex-president, who is also a successful farmer, it would be difficult for them to succeed in the business of agriculture.
Obasanjo made the call when he joined virtually at the Launch of Youths in Agribusiness project with the theme, “Enabling Scaling of Innovative Technologies for Sustainable Food Solutions.”
He appealed to the federal government to find a way that youth could access credit facilities at the right rate for agriculture.
The former president harped on the need to create jobs for the teeming population of youth in the country, as food production, security, and nutritional security are very important to the country.
He, however, encouraged aspiring agri-entrepreneurs to be prepared to invest in the sector, taking risks and utilising their resources effectively.
“I believe any interest that is more than a single digit is not good enough for agriculture.”
In his address, the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari, said food insecurity and severe malnutrition are more critical.
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The Minister, who was represented by the Director of Agribusiness and Marketing Development, Engr. Adegbenro Adebiyi, said due to this, millions of people from the conflict-affected communities need urgent livelihood support and have continued to depend on assistance from national authorities and specialised agencies to enable them to get their lives back together.
He further seeks action towards tackling food insecurities such as training, education, rehabilitation of infrastructure, distribution of seeds, agricultural kits, and livestock.
The Head of Office, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), North East, Al Hassan Cisse, restated the need for the agricultural food system to be transformed.
“In 2060, the population of the world will reach 9 billion. What we need to do is transform the way we handle agriculture through our food system”.
“The FAO is making sure that agriculture is made attractive for the youth. Making agriculture attractive for the youths is to create an enabling environment that allows the youths to have access to land, resources, financial services, technology, innovations, and knowledge”.
“We need partnerships with other organisations and also to share knowledge if we want to move together.”
While addressing the issue of climate change as an effect on agriculture, Cisse said the FAO has implemented action against desertification in Bauchi, Jigawa, and Sokoto States”, Cisse noted.