By; FUNMI ADERINTO, Kaduna
Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, Dr Hadiza Balarabe has said that the present administration is working to make agriculture attractive for the youth who constitute majority of the state’s population.
Dr Balarabe made this known at the High-Level Roundtable on the Hand-in-Hand Initiative in Nigeria, organized by the Food and Agricultural Organisation( FAO), which took place virtually.
The Deputy Governor noted that ‘’while agriculture remains the largest employer of labour in Kaduna State, the age of our farmers does not reflect the demographic of the state as a young state.’’
According to her, it is a challenge to encourage the younger generation to embrace farming, adding that ‘’we are re-examining the extension system used to transmit knowledge to farmers to strengthen it for higher productivity.’’
Dr Balarabe recalled that the state government has prioritised effective collaboration with stakeholders and partners to promote agriculture, resulting in a $150 million Olam Hatchery and Feed mill and other agribusinesses in the state.
The Deputy Governor noted that the state government is ready to collaborate with FAO to drive the agenda for sustainable agricultural development and the transformation of rural areas in the state.
“We welcome the Hand-in-Hand Initiative as a major enabler of food security in Nigeria. Kaduna state will continue to focus on empowering the rural people through modern food and agricultural systems that emphasize a value chain approach to feed the nation and create jobs.
‘’Through the Ministry of Agriculture, Kaduna state has registered over 100,000 farmers across different value chains that include, dairy, ginger, rice, soyabeans, maize, who belong to over 4,000 Cooperative Groups/Commodity Interest Groups and over 100 Processors/SMEs,’’ she added.
Also speaking, the Governor of Ekiti State and the Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Dr Kayode Fayemi, said there is need for collaboration between the state and federal government in implementing the Hand-in-Hand Initiative.
Hand-in-Hand Initiative is the brain-child of the FAO, which was launched in 2020, to support evidenced-based, country-led and country-owned investment to eradicate poverty and end hunger and all forms of malnutrition.