Africa, Agriculture and The Millennials

As a child, I barely held on to memories and it’s a habit that am yet to wean off, but the few things I do remember, I never let go of, I hold them close and perhaps, I shall carry them to my grave. One of those rare, infinite memories are those splendid times I spent in Benue, Nigeria. I can still breathe in the fresh air from the villages, the rich scent of local food thick in the air, the pitter-patter of my little feet beating against the beautiful black earth, the food, always fresh and the people, always happy. Those were happy times, moments I relish, maybe because of the food, maybe because of the games we played at the farms while eating the proceeds but it always dates back to the food.

Africa is the black continent. The people are black, the earth is black and black is good. Our soils are fertile and expansive, the earth itself almost seems to beckon to any living thing to grow replenish and abound. In fact, when the African continent was first explored, the rich vegetation was an undeniable allure. It’s been centuries since then, but till date, Agriculture still remains one of the core assets of Africa. Sadly, the kids of this century can barely relate to this our heritage especially those in the urban areas. I still remember a friend of mine who stood in front of a pumpkin tree popularly known as “ugu” and with all the exuberance he could muster proudly asked “When will this yam get ripe?” though my perplexity was unrivaled, I am forced to wonder the causative of this ignorance and the undeniable repercussions if this coming generation doesn’t cash in on the enormous opportunities Agriculture presents.

Rural areas are also not left out, driven by the lack of opportunities and the glitz of white collar jobs in urban areas, our children have forsaken the old ways and adorned themselves with uniforms and suits in the hope of living the better life, forgetting that education is only completed when it is suitably practiced. In a society, where we are all literally standing on our heritage, a potential gold mine, is it wise to join the controversial tussle in the external job market? African children need agricultural education, there is a world of remunerations awaiting anyone who cashes into the opportunities that agriculture provides. Government should invest in sensitizing the youths, even from a tender age, on the immense benefits that agriculture could provide. The society should not be left out, wherever we can carry on this age-long heritage, wherever we can groom plants, be it commercially or as subsistence farmers, let’s do so. Together lets raise a new generation of educated agriculturalists, let’s train the upcoming generation to invest in researches, to till our lands and plant crops. Let’s do it for our children, let’s do it for Africa. Together, let’s take a look at our ancestral heirloom and ask ourselves, “what if every African child knew about the potential of Agriculture and was able to use it?” – Farhan Yusuf

Now that’s a question worth asking!