Luring Youths into Farming

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Gabriel Simon
Gabriel Simon

Gabriel Simon, a student of fisheries and aquaculture at the University of Agriculture, Makurdi, wants federal and state governments to encourage youths to take to farming by showing greater commitment to professionalising agriculture

|  By Augustine Adah  |  Jan. 21, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

GABRIEL Simon, a 500-level student of the University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Benue State, had one goal when he entered the school in 2009. It was to successfully complete his educational career. But the general economic situation in the country threatened that goal and compelled him to engage in menial jobs in order to take care of himself in the school. That made Simon to start a GSM phone repairs business after undergoing training for a few months.

Members of Nigeria Fish farmers
Members of Nigeria Fish farmers

Today, he is a known name on the campus as both staff and students are his clients. Combining academic work with phone repairs was quite challenging but Simon said he never allowed the job to interfere with his academic programme. Now that he has a few months to spend on campus, Simon could not quantify in monetary terms how much he has realised from the business that has brought him wealth. “The money realised from the job has helped me to solve some of my problems without depending on my parents all the time,” Simon said.

Apart from phone repairs, Simon also makes money through consultancy services he renders to farmers in company of other students in the fisheries and aquaculture department.  “When I got to the school, I became a member of a consultancy outfit in Makurdi.  The job of the organisation was to organise seminars for young and older farmers on how to get the best yield in farming”, Simon said.

Simon, who got admission in 2009 to study veterinary medicine, said he has no regret for changing his course to fisheries and aquaculture because he is more fulfilled with the course than any other discipline.

The 25 year old indigene of Cross River State does not intend to look for any job after graduation. His plan is to start his own fisheries farm and become an employer of labour. But Simon wants the federal and state governments to be more committed to the development of agriculture in Nigeria. He suggested that governments should make loans available to farmers and provide land to encourage youths to take agriculture as a profession. Simon is optimistic that many youths in Nigeria would embrace agriculture, if the right incentives are provided by the government.

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