Former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday said lack of electricity in most rural areas is one of the major reasons why youths shy away from agriculture. The former president said for youths to be drawn to agriculture, the sector must be made attractive. “If the only place we have bright lights is in the cities, the youths will remain in the cities. You have to bring some light to the rural areas for youth to take agriculture seriously,” said Obasanjo.
Making agriculture attractive is the only way Kenya and other African countries can ensure food security and sufficiency and even export, said Obansanjo. “We must encourage commercial farming supported by technology to drive agricultural development,” said the former president who is a successful farmer. Obasanjo was speaking at the third African governance, leadership and management convention in Mombasa.
He said most youths are influenced by the West. Rappers from America and other European countries, he said, entice African youths that they disregard farming as a viable sector in Africa. “They entice the youths. We must do something about this. I went to the village. The youngest farmer in my village is my cousin who is now 67,” noted Obasanjo, much to the amusement of the audience.
The former president said agriculture and agribusiness must be given support on skills. The key for great progress in Africa is agribusiness. “Small and medium enterprises and agribusiness are the sure ways of wealth generation and employment creation for most of our people in Africa,” he said.