Ayedun (Ekiti) – The Federal Government has been urged to empower youths and unemployed graduates through agricultural programmes.
Mr Timilehin Durojaye, Chairman, Farmers Association, Ikole Local Government Area of Ekiti, made the call during interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Ayedun Ekiti on Friday.
He said this was a better option to alleviate poverty than the recent agitation for monthly payment of stipends to the unemployed youths.
He said that the recent agitation to pay youths monthly N5,000 stipend would neither reduce unemployment nor alleviate poverty.
“Instead of the stipend, the federal and state governments should give preference to the empowerment of youths and the unemployed through agricultural programmes.
“The involvement of great percentage of youths in agriculture will not only reduce unemployment, it will also boost food security and improve the nation’s economy.
“Government should, therefore, encourage youths through financial empowerment, provision of farmlands, input and other incentives to motivate them.
“Existing farm settlements should be provided with basic amenities, while new ones should be established and made habitable for interested youths”, he said.
He held that the call for diversification of the economy should not only be a slogan, but be backed with action.
“Practical steps should be taken to address the challenges at hand,” he said.
Durojaye appealed to unemployed youths to embrace farming, adding, “stop dreaming of white collar jobs and face the reality.”
He, however, urged those who cannot go into farming to be involved in vocational skills as alternative sources of income, instead of having to depend on their parents to feed them. (NAN)