Agricultural Youth Sensitive Policies: the Way Forward in Enhancing Youths Inclination Towards Agriculture
Objectives of the Study
The main objective of the study is to examine the agricultural youth sensitive policies enhancing youths’ inclination towards agriculture among agricultural undergraduates in Abuja.
The objectives of the study include;
- To identify social economic characteristics of undergraduates of Agriculture.
- To analyze students’ satisfaction in studying Agriculture.
- To determine Students’ willingness to incline into Agriculture-related activities.
- To analyze students’ constraints to taken up agriculture as a career.
This chapter presents a review on related literature on agricultural youth sensitive policies: the way forward in enhancing youths’ inclination towards agriculture. This chapter reviews scholarly written materials by other authors. The chapter is structured into three sections. The Conceptual review, Theoretical review and Empirical review.
A lot of scholars have different views about the group that constitute youth and as a result of this, it is not an easy task to define or identify who is a youth. Eremie (2002) described youth as a state or time of being young, a transition between childhood and adulthood. Similarly, Gwarry et al (2008) described youth as a state of transition between children and adulthood characterized by energy, intelligence and hope. According to Ijioma and Ibezim (2010) youth is a stage in one’s life when one is agile, energetic, determined and adventous in experimenting different perspective of life. They further stressed that youths have high enthusiasm and learn very fast. They are prone to innovativeness, less risk-shy and eager to change. Nwachukwu (2008) defined youth as people within the age of 15 and 24 years, Adegboye et al (2010) considers a youth to be anybody between 12 and 30 years of age. According to Onuekwusi (2005) the youths have been identified as contributing the major resource base for any country who wants to embark on any meaningful agricultural and rural development projects. This is because they can easily develop the skills, knowledge and attitude that enable them to take an active role in the society. Adegboye and Eniolorunda (2006) opined that incorporating youths in agricultural production will facilitate capacity building and empowering them for agricultural productivity which will predispose them to a favorable attitude and future career in agriculture.
Description of the study area
Abuja is the capital city of Nigeria, in the middle of the country. The skyline of the city, which was built largely in the 1980s, is dominated by Aso Rock, an enormous monolith. It rises up behind the Presidential Complex, which houses the residence and offices of the Nigerian president in the Three Arms Zone on the eastern edge of the city. Nearby are the National Assembly and the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
The University of Abuja is a tertiary institution in the Nigerian capital, Abuja. It was established on January 1, 1988 as a dual-mode university with the mandate to run conventional and distance learning programmes. Academic work began in the University in 1990 with the matriculation of its pioneer students.
This study employed descriptive survey on the agricultural youth sensitive policies enhancing youths’ inclination towards agriculture among agricultural undergraduates in Abuja.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Findings from the study as presented in Table 1 shows that 53.6% and 46.4% of the students were males and females respectively. This implies that both genders were adequately represented in the admission of agriculture students in the university. It could therefore be inferred that discrimination against the female gender in the pursuit of higher education was well taken care of by the university management.
About three-quarter (74.1%) of the students were Christians while one-quarter (25.0%) of the students were Muslims. Only about 0.9% of them professed to be traditional believers. It could be inferred that although Christianity was the predominant religion among the students, the two major religions among agriculture students in UNIABJ were Christianity and Islam.
About 83.9% of the students were single while the remaining students were either married (4.5%) or engaged (11.6%). This implies that the pursuit of professional careers is likely to be the primary focus of majority of the students since no family responsibility is likely to distract them. Table 1 also reveals that about 72.3% of the agriculture students were in the 22-26 years age brackets while 17.0% and 10.7% fell in the 27-30- and 18-21-years age brackets. The mean age of 24.08±2.37 years indicated that the students are youths and are neither children nor adolescents. Hence, they are expected to make sound decisions on their profession of choice after graduation.
Table 1 further reveals that more than half (51.8%) and more than two-thirds (69.6%) of the mothers and fathers respectively had tertiary education while about 33.0% and 21.4% of the mothers and fathers respectively had secondary education. Very few of the parents had at most primary education. This implies that the agriculture students came from parents who were well educated elites that understood the value education and professional careers.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
With the current farming population consisting largely of the aged and barely literate farmers, the need to attract the youth becomes even more compelling. Most rural youths do not foresee a prosperous future for themselves in the agriculture sector, mostly because of lack of physical and social infrastructure in rural areas. These infrastructures are necessary in order to keep youths in the field as well as promote their interests in agriculture.
- Efforts should be made to integrate the views of youths into developmental efforts in order to address the actual needs of the youths, thus making agricultural development planning and management sensitive to their needs.
- Appropriate and inclusive financial services can equip youth with the resources and support to become productive and economically active members of their agricultural households and communities. Non-refundable grants, incentives and start-up capital for promoting rural youth entrepreneurship are instruments of critical importance.
- The use of innovative information and communication technologies (ICTs) should be promoted among youths and purposive media campaign aimed at uplifting the face of agriculture from playing the second fiddle to other professions to being the main player of the economy.
- Enhancement of youth’s knowledge through the establishment of new Agricultural training centers and strengthening of existing ones.
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