Over the years, there has been a call for more youths and young people to venture into agriculture. The idea behind this is that when a lot of able-bodied men and women are well engaged, restiveness, crime and violence would be reduced in the country. However, a youth farmer, Taiwo Bello, has given an insight into how this goal can be achieved by creating a kind of reward system whereby whatever is produced by young farmers can be bought back and proceeds pumped back into agriculture. Bello argues that this practice would not only ensure continuity in farming, but would bring about sufficient food supply on the long run. Excerpts:
Can we meet you
I am Taiwo Bello.
Why did you decide to go into agriculture
Agriculture, to me, is life and a way of life. It is a means by which one is able to give back to society by giving its people affordable means to feed itself. I easily love anything that has life and it gives me this inner peace; tending to things that have life.
How has the venture been doing
To be alive is not an easy task. The venture has been full of ups and downs.
Can you mention some of the challenges you are facing
I have ventured into poultry for its meat and for rabbits, for its meat and for being a pet. And sincerely, on poultry, it had been much of finance problems, especially as the cost of feeding is on the very high side. Also, when one has spent so much and undergone series of hardwork to rear them from chicks to the table, they are most times under priced. On rabbits, the cost of feeding can easily be substituted with different types of vegetation, but I have not been able to work out a large market for it. So, I had to keep it low. Also, there is hardly any support from any quarters, as one struggles and thinks out solutions. Like for example, I had to make a cage for my rabbits using wood and wire netting to be able to house them. I record high mortality rates at birth by losing sometimes, between 80-90% of the kittens, to mention a few.
How do you think these can be tackled
People usually look up to the government. Farms that engage in this type of farming should also be able to reach out to backyard farmers, who are also trying to cultivate animals for human consumption.
How can we encourage more youths to go into agriculture
One of the ways youths can be encouraged is to create a reward system where whatever is being produced can be bought completely and proceeds be pumped back into agriculture, to ensure continuity and sufficient food production on the long run.
Do you feel the existing business environment is encouraging to farming
No. As there is no price regulation and as a result of economic hardship, everyone is taking advantage of the situation to exploit as much as possible. Even the new 16% interest rate of the Federal Government would further increase hardship on the people. That is in my own opinion.
What is your general advice
If you have passion for agriculture, try as much as possible, to engage in it, no matter whether it is on a small or big scale. Also, the government and private bodies can create a system where intending farmers or small scale farmers can get all the support they need to better in farming or agricultural business.