She called for the replication of the initiative in all schools in the country, urging young people to see agriculture as a business and a way to grow the Nigerian economy. This initiative, she noted, is in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s mission of providing special incentives for youths involved in agricultural production and processing, in a bid to reduce the problems of youth unemployment and replace the aging farm population in the country.
She commended Notore for the initiative and called on the private sector, non-governmental organizations and extension agencies to invest in agriculture. She also called on the youths to embrace agriculture and turn our economy around.
Speaking earlier, Mr. Femi Solebo, MD/CEO of Notore Power & Infrastructure said many Nigerian youths have not been interested in going into Agriculture as a career due to misconceptions about the sector. He said although Nigeria is blessed with abundant arable land, there is a gap between food production and demand of Nigerians. He also spoke about a rapidly aging active farmer population, expressing the fear that when the current farmers retire, Nigeria will face a major crisis in food production.
Speaking on the Green School Initiative, Mr. Solebo said it is meant to ignite the interest of students in Agriculture and encourage them to pursue agriculture-related careers. The initiative involves partnering with Secondary Schools across Nigeria to establish demonstration farms that will be used to teach students modern agricultural techniques and best practices.
The Green School Initiative, he said, hopes to equip students with the knowledge of agricultural best practices and spur excitement about the agricultural sector at an early stage in their lives and to bring to light the commercial value of agriculture as a business if done well. The initiative is also meant to raise a new generation of farmers, thereby bridging the current age gap in the Agriculture sector and changing the current negative perception of the Agriculture sector amongst our Youth.
The highlight of the event was the planting of seeds by Mrs. Buhari and some African First Ladies.