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“Boosting the economy through rice farming”
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“Boosting the economy through rice farming”

image (10)Nuraddeen Haruna Idris, 21, a Correspondent from Yobe State, Nigeria, writes that rice farming can boost Nigeria’s economic status by providing employment and using investment that now goes to imports.

Rice farming will boost the economic status of Nigeria because agriculture is a branch of the economy that provides employment for about 30 per cent of the population as of 2014.

The sector is being transformed by commercialisation at the small, medium and large-scale enterprise levels. The country still imports rice worth about two billion dollars yearly. This two billion dollars is enough to invest within the country. Youth unemployment is very high, with more than eleven million youth unemployed. This is an opportunity for Nigeria’s government and investors to invest in our youths through rice production.

As we know, the growth of industries and communities were dependent in many ways on agriculture and primary production in so many places. Nigeria has a potential land area for rice production of about 4.6 billion hectares. However, only 1.7 million hectares is growing rice. The cultivable land for rice is spread under five ecological types such as upland, inland or shallow, irrigated, deep water or floating rice and tidal mangrove or swampy rice. At present, the development consensus is that a strong performance in rice production is fundamental for overall economic growth. Improving rice performance will generate more income in both rural and urban areas. As incomes increase, households save more and spend more, stimulating growth and investment in other sectors.

Rice consumption is very high. I think the government should collaborate with local and foreign investors to invest in rice production, and the investment should focus on unemployed youths who are willing to contribute. The Nigerian rice production sector is, however, dominated by small-hold farmers who by virtue of their low income have dwindling capacity to access and procure capital, labour and modern inputs.

Against the market environments that do not guarantee a fair price for return to investment on modern inputs, the farmers are indeed faced with a production environment that is capable of limiting their enthusiasm to adopt improved production technologies in agricultural production.

Three significant problems discourage our unemployed youths and small scale farmers from engaging in rice and other cash crops production in Nigeria:

One is lack of financial support systems to enable youths to grow, expand and maintain a farm. Many of our youths are financially poor, making it almost impossible for them to adopt farming practices.

Poor transportation is also an issue facing not just agriculture but the economy in general. Most Nigerian youths are discouraged because they find it difficult to transport their farm product to market for sale. In some areas the roads don’t exist, and remote areas find themselves cut off from the rest of the country. Because there are no proper storage facilities in their rural areas, some are discouraged even if they have a chance to plant and cultivate.

Poor markets and marketing for farmers have become one of the biggest issues affecting our youths. The lack of market facilities and poor government regulation makes it almost impossible for youths and existing farmers of small scale to market their products.

Access to loans with low interest rates, as well as access to fertiliser and other necessary farming tools will encourage youths in turning to the agricultural sector. This will also bring positive impact in the country by having food security, low unemployment rate, and more infrastructure.

It will also turn the country’s status from an importing to an exporting country. The government and investors can make this possible if they solve the present problems. The country has so many cash crops ready for investment in order to increase revenue income and transform the agricultural section in general. The government should not abandon our youths, because we are the background and backbone of any community.

photo credit: Towne Post Network KAH6 Hilda Perez pic of 3 Village of Hope girls with food (2)-_ForPrint via photopin (license)

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About me: I earned bachelor degree in computer science and diploma in networking engineering. I’m the owner of entrepreneurs’ ideas blog, which helps young talented entrepreneurs with ideas.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/

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