On November 7, 2017 the president of Nigeria his Excellency President Mohamed Buhari officially presented the 2018 budget to the national assembly, which amounted to ₦8.612 trillion, with an allocation of ₦118.98 billion allocated for agriculture. It will be of great interest to point out that the united state generate about $150 billion from agriculture alone, which is over six times Nigeria's entire annual budget, this indeed is worthy of emulation.
In 2016, a chart displayed by the Nigeria bureau of statistics in which youth within the age of 15-24, with a labor force of 16,722,426 has only 6,415,593 individuals fully employed and young adult within the age of 25- 34 with the labor force of 24,017,094 has 15,011,003 employed. The question is what happens to over 21 million youth who are majorly unemployed and some underemployed? Statistic has shown that unemployment rate reduces as the age increases as those above the age 34 have lesser level of unemployment rate, which necessitate the importance of tackling youth unemployment.
Agriculture goes beyond the cultivating of land and the rearing of livestock for personal consumption, as today commercial agriculture provide myriads of opportunity that will end the problem of unemployment in Nigeria. Below are some career opportunities in agriculture, that if explored would reduce youth unemployment, and underemployment in Nigeria:
Fish production in the country over the years has not been able to meet it requirement as importation of fish is still on the increase. Fish farming today is a lucrative job as this could be practiced in a small confined area and if properly managed can transform one into a millionaire. Cat fish the most cultured species of fish in Nigeria, on a commercially scale can produce over two million jobs for youth in the next two years, if only the government would explore and support fish farming.
Small and Large Scale Farming
Nigeria with 84 million hectares of fertile land has what it takes to feed the entire population of west Africa and beyond, increase GDP and exportation, crop cultivation such as rice, maize, cassava etc thrives in global market as they are highly needed. Helping small scale farmers and strengthen those commercial farmers with loans and business subsidies could create over five million jobs, in the next two years.
Despite ethnic or religious believe on the consumption of pork, it will interest you to know that the sales of pork in the market has increased. Piggery is a lucrative business as the cost of raising pigs is relatively low and affordable, mainly because pigs, have low mortality rate, strong immune system, the cost of their feed is low and they produce in large numbers.
This is a popular aspect of agriculture, especially as we approach the period of festivity, a lot of commercial activities involving the sales of poultry products is on the increase. However, the challenge with this type of farming is the outbreak of disease (bird flu), which can be prevented if properly manage.
Nigeria's industrial sector today is suffering from epileptic electricity and poor power generation. Science and technology have proven that energy can be generated from plants, this is widely explore in developed countries of the world. Plant-e is one of the world economic forum’s 2015 class of technology pioneers. This company is developing technology that generates electricity from living plant without damaging them, especially suitable for wet areas such as rice paddy field. Energy supply through agriculture will directly increase the employing power of the industry and provide an enticing business environment for local and foreign investors.
In conclusion, agriculture can be said to be “a gold in disguised” as it is erroneously believed to be a “dirty man’s job”. Only nations who decide to explore by investing heavily, conducting research and innovation, can tackle the threat of unemployment in today’s world.