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Agricbusiness And Youth Empowerment

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Agricbusiness is the business of Agricultural Production; it includes crop production, animal rearing, seed supplies, Agrochemical, farm machinery, processing and packaging, marketing, retail sales and distribution. The ultimate result for any agricultural related activity is profit.
With the decline in the oil sector, Agriculture is becoming the most important sector in the Nigerian economy ie The Future but not without challenges, both natural and man-made. It has the capacity to employ large number of Nigerians, including rural women and youths and contribute large percentage to the country’s GDP.
Nigeria remains a net importer of food, for many reasons. First of all, the majority of the agriculture-focused operations in the country are small-scale, with limited innovation regarding inputs; harvesting, processing and packaging, distribution, and access to markets. The vast majority of people engaged in agriculture and operating at the grassroots level, has limited access to training and finance, which are among challenges faced by Agribusiness in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, engaging youths in various communities into Agricbusiness today, will establish the prospects for sustainable socio- economic development and peace in the nation. Youths, who represent majority of the population in Nigeria, and today, should be visibly contributing as political actors, innovators, entrepreneurs and peace builders, are faced with disproportionate social, economic and political barriers, which prevent them from unleashing their full potentials. To utilise Nigerian youths as potential agents of change, requires involving and empowering them in developmental skills and programs that can advance their immediate environment through Agropreneurship which has the capacity to engage a large number of them at all levels.

Youth empowerment is different from youth development because development is centered on developing individuals, while empowerment is focused on creating greater community change by relying on the development of individual capacity. If our youths are empowered to engage in Agro-Allied related businesses in their localities, there will be a change in the socio-economic activities in our communities because there is no community or local government area without a unique agro product. Farming activities will be boosted and as a result, jobs will be created and revenue generation for the farmers, agricbusiness entrepreneurs and government at all levels.

Agricbusiness, such as food processing and packaging business, is the business of adding values to agro produce by packaging and branding it such as-: Cassava; Gari (Gari Ngwa, Otukpo gari, Edu gari, Ijebu gari), Starch, Abacha, flour); Yam: Yam flour, tubers (tying it with a rope in 2-5 tubers with a branded name such as Gboko white, Giwa white, etc); Plantain (flour, chips, bunch); Local Rice (rice flour for tuwo shinkafa, kunu geda, rice grains); Beans, beans seed, beans flour (for moi-moi, akara, soup); Soya-beans- grains, drink, powder and snacks etc; Crayfish- wet or dry, even powdered; Pepper :(sokoto, nsukka) powder and be used as an active ingredient for making spices such as yaji; Potatoes (Irish/local): chips or seed. Egwusi and Ogbono, Soup thickener. Tomatoes:; Tomato Paste or powdered and fresh; Onions: powdered, flecks or fresh in a net bag. Ginger and Turmeric: Fresh, powdered, used to prepare ginger drink, as an ingredient for spices production; Palm oil- packaged in gallons and sachet. Meat- any kind of meat can be processed in different ways depending on the available market such as dry, powdered, baked etc; Garlic- paste or powdered, will bring about reduction in Agro produce wastage.

However, if youth empowerment is focused on creating greater community change by relying on the development of youth capacity and involvement in adding value to produce in their community, the National Assembly of Federal Republic of Nigeria (NASS) Agricbusiness Challenge Concept can produce 469 Agropreneur youths in our communities going by the number of Senators and House of Reps members in Nigeria, which will go a long way in promoting and encouraging youths’ participation in Agricultural related businesses thereby creating jobs and revenue, food security and sustainable development.
Profitablity Of Food Processing Business

The returns on this Agricbusiness are quite attractive because Agro-produce processing business is a business with soaring return on investment in Nigeria today, going by our population and improved standard of living. With less than #1,000,000, you can comfortably start this business anywhere in Nigeria, even in your house, all you need is weighing machine, sealing machine and packaging material which will not cost you more than #200,000 depending on the scale you want to operate.
But you are advised to process or package only locally sourced foods to avoid over head cost, as Dollar rate to Naira is becoming higher every day and cost of Agro-commodities are on the increase in the market. People are now patronising locally processed food with the entrance of international supermarket brands in the country; gradual improvement in the power sector, new malls being constructed according to international standard and the steady transformation of informal markets into more formal and modern facilities which are setting new bars by providing a wide choice of shopping experiences in a modern, customer-oriented building. Food processing and packaging is all about adding value to raw Agro produce produced in our local communities.



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