Students in Nigeria have been advised to take interest in agriculture, to ensure sustainable food security in the country.
Idris Aliyu, Director, Seed Industry Development, Technical Support and Commercial Services, National Agricultural Council, NASC, gave the advise Wednesday during Seed Demonstration Field Day organised by the Council for selected schools across Kaduna State.
The programme targets selected secondary schools in each state to demonstrate and educate students on the importance of improved seeds to sustainable agriculture.
Mr Aliyu said: “There is no future if there is no food and there is no future if there is no youth and that is why the programme is tied to the two towards a brighter future.
“There is need for the youth to differentiate seeds from grains and the seeds must be quality seeds.
“This is because the youth can use the knowledge acquired to advise their parents on the use of quality seeds on their farmlands.
“Agin, these youth will in future make use of the knowledge to be plant breeders because Nigeria is actually lacking this segment of people.”
Mr Aliyu lamented that, though there were many people that studied different areas of agriculture, only a little above 100 were plant breeders, which is inadequate for the country.
He explained that NASC decided to shift attention to secondary schools to motivate students to develop interest agricultural practices in general and plant breeding in particular.
The Director explained that agriculture remained the only sector that would provide jobs to large population of Nigerians.
Mr Aliyu therefore advised the students to put interest in agriculture as it would be a stepping stone to accomplishing their carrier.
He said the programme which began with secondary school students would be extended to cover tertiary institutions across Nigeria.
Also in an interview, the North-West Regional Director, Alhaji Ubandoma Hudu-Mohammed said the essence of the programme was to educate the students to understand and see agriculture as a business.
“As youth, they shouldn’t be thinking of traditional agriculture, where people plant, if they have excess they sell, when they have no excess, they eat what they have.
“No, this is a business like any other business, the technologies are there and the plan of the government is that agriculture should be fully mechanised.
“Mechanised in the sense that even if you are a small scale holder, you will have a hand tractor, a hand machine that you can couple your implement, go to the field, harrow, plough, ridge and come back home without stress.”
He observed that the agriculture value chain was not just about crops, adding that the council started with crops because it remained the foundation of good agriculture.
“Agriculture is the largest employer of labour, and today we are here to showcase this thing to the students so that they will look at it across the value chain.”
He stressed that it was important for the students to have agricultural skills at early age, so that they could blend whatever they studied later in life to improve their means of livelihood.