Young people should develop improved interest in the agricultural value chain, especially in the development of mobile and web applications that will redefine the processes.
Fielding questions from TechEconomy.ng in Lagos, Cynthia Mosunmola Umoru popularly known as Pretty Miss Farmer, describes young people as possessive of brainpower and technical knowhow to influence the agric value chain.
Umoru, an agribusiness entrepreneur; she is extremely passionate about incorporating technology to improve food, farming and the entire agricultural value chain.
Pretty Miss Farmer who is also the Founder/CEO, Harvesters Farms Limited, with large catchment of farm in Osun State, and also founded Honeysuckles PTL Ventures, says: “The youths should start thinking outside the box on way to grow home grown solutions to our challenges. I like to talk on my area of expertise which is agriculture.
“There are challenges that an average agro-entrepreneur faces; being him the farmer, processor, or someone in the logistics value chain. We need young people who have coding and apps development skills or technology skills to begin to develop solutions that would accelerate the kind of change and development we want to see in the agriculture sector.
Why is Pretty Miss Farmer calling on youths to engage in agricultural value chain?
A report by the Punch Newspaper in April 2016 indicated that the average age of the Nigerian farmer is 55, which is an indication that not too many young people engage in farming activity.
On the continental level, it is said that 65 per cent of global arable land is situated in Africa. Global arable land stands at about 1.4 billion hectares.
For Nigeria, about 84 million hectares of its total land mass is arable while only about 40 per cent is presently cultivated. Nigeria has the largest chunk of the arable land in Africa as it currently places ninth on the global rankings of countries with the highest mass of arable land.
A road trip from one region in the country to another never fails to convince travellers about this claim, the Punch Newspaper writes.
Even the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, says foreign exchange from agriculture and solid minerals could service the country’s debt and loan profile.
However, Pretty Miss Farmer believes that young people have more responsibilities to redirect the course of the sector through value addition mobile applications.
She tells TechEconomy.ng, “It is actually cross-cutting from agriculture to education, health, business advancement, medical evolution; we need all need to leverage technology. So, the young people with the basic skills for designing, coding and programming can actually come up with solutions that will characterise the changes we need.
“I want to enjoy being a farmer. Therefore, someone with the tech-expertise should provide some solutions that I can pay for to enable me be a better farmer. I want to be food processor; I would love to see someone in that space that provides me with a solution that will enable me do better packaging, presenting my goods in superior manner.
“Basically, we all need each other. We can’t all rest on our oars as coders or programmers; not providing relevant solutions that the market requires today.
“My advice today is that the developers/coders should think about market relevance solutions in the 21st Century. What are the issues? How can they proffer solutions? It will be a win-win situation for all in the value change when they come up with solutions that will accelerate economic growth in Nigeria and Africa at large. Because they are providing solutions for personal experiences; challenges they also experience or problems they face on a going basis”, she concludes.