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This study sought to establish youth Participation in Agricultural Activities in Jema’a Local Government of Kaduna State, Nigeria. The study was necessitated by the reliance on agriculture for food production and food security, at domestic, regional and global level, which remains the backbone of the Nigerian economy, but remains unattractive to the youth. In Jem’a Local Government, there is a large percentage of unemployed youth. The study was guided by the following objectives: the socio-economic characteristics of youths in the study area. The extent of youth participation in agricultural activities in Jema’a Local Government Area. This research employed a descriptive survey design, as it is focused on collecting data to explore, find out and explain youth participation in the agricultural activities. The sample size of this study was 51 respondents. Random sampling was adopted to select the 15 participants from each of the four District locations in Jema’a Local Government. Primary data was collected by administering a structured questionnaire. Descriptive statistic was used to analyse the Data collected. These included percentages and frequencies. Tables were appropriately used to present the data that were collected, further, majority of the youth indicated that they participated in agricultural activities because they were aware about existing activities on agriculture in the study recommends that Jema’a Local Government should make adequate budgetary allocation to finance for modem technology. Provide machines and equipment to support agricultural activities for the youth. This will improve efficiency in farming and save huge costs that might in turn contribute to improved productivity. The study further recommends that the Local governments should assist in creating ready markets and facilitating linkages to other markets, for agricultural produce, this will encourage the youth to participate in farming activities since they are assured of making sales and increasing their profits which will contribute to employment, improved income and household food security.
The study recommends that Jema’a Local Government should increase youth awareness about agriculture and agricultural activities by allowing NGOs. Providing educational facilities, sponsoring extension workers to enable them to have a deeper understanding of the benefits that are derived from agriculture.
1.1 Background of the Study
Men play important roles in agriculture, undertaking a wide range of activities relating to food production, processing and marketing; and beyond farming, they are involved in land and water management: most often they are collectors of water, firewood and fodder. They have access to a store of local knowledge on the medicinal use of plants; they have been in the forefront of soil conservation programmes; and it is who perform most of the household labour devoted to animals (Commonwealth, 2005).youth participationin agricultural production therefore cut across various subsectors :planting, weeding, harvesting, processing, and marketing as well as tending livestock (Soubh, 2006). This necessitates their integration into planning, policies, and programmes for effective and sustainable development of a nation (FAO, 2003). Hence, the role of women in agricultural production in the developing nations, including Nigeria, can never be overemphasized (Damisa and Yohanna, 2007;andKishor, Gupta, Yadav, and Singh, 1999).Although, rural out-migration has constituted one of the greatest challenges hindering agricultural development in developing countries, surveys showed that, in general, youth in Africa have a strong desire to participate in their community affairs and contribute to its development (African Development Fund – ADF, 2003) provided that: there is government effective and timely support/subsidization to agricultural sector; employment opportunities in the local area, including part-time jobs; the possibility of gaining work experience and vocational qualifications; local facilities for education and training; business service ssupportive to youth projects and enterprises; public transport services compatible with working hours; local childcare facilities and social services for the elderly and the sick; and supportive public and professional organizations .One of the rationales for improving youth participation in agriculture is that when a youth is educated. As a youth earns income, his\she is more likely than the man to spend it on improving the well-being of the family. This scenario can build youth self-esteem and lead to a more participatory role in both public and private life decision making (FAO, 2011).The full use of productive potential of human resources (male and female) cannot be realized in developing nations if youth do not have access to adequate resources, productivity enhancing inputs and services; and policies such as price incentives cannot be fully successful in stimulating agricultural production if the institutional arrangements prevent women producers from getting the benefits. As such, the role of agriculture has been re-appraised and re-valued on its contribution to industrialization and its importance for harmonious development, political, and economic stability with emphasis on youth participation in agricultural activities. As agricultural resources have become increasingly responsive to market forces and increasingly integrated in the network of industrial interdependencies mainly shaped by technological advancement, vertical integration, marketing and consumer preferences (FAO, 2003b). The International Development Community (IDC) has thus recognized agriculture as engine of growth and poverty reduction in countries where it is the main occupation of the larger proportion of the people. And as agriculture sector is becoming more technologically sophisticated, commercially oriented and globally integrated; the developing countries have to fully utilize their human resources in order to take advantage of the global opportunities for all agricultural producers, including improving youth participation in agriculture (FAO, 2011).
Overseas Development Institute – ODI (2002) identified some reasons for believing that agriculture is the engine of poverty reduction: when agriculture prospers, farmers and farm labourers benefit, and so do those with jobs upstream and downstream from farming; the wider economy also benefits, from increased spending, likelihood of greater tax revenue, more investment in infrastructure, and a stronger foreign exchange position. It was also found that the impact of agricultural growth on poverty reduction is one and half times the impact of growth in other sectors (ODI, 2002).The historical evidences prove that agricultural sector has the potentials to be the industrial and economic springboard from which a country’s development can take off as its activities are usually concentrated in the less-developed rural areas where youth represent the highest vulnerable groups with a critical need for (rural) transformation, redistribution, poverty alleviation and socio-economic development (Stewart, 2000; Eicher and Witt, 1964;
Oluwasanmi, 1966; and Jones and Woolf, 1969).The Nigerian experience during the first decade of independence could reasonably be described as an agricultural economy because agriculture served as the engine of growth of the overall economy (Ogen, 2003). From the standpoint of occupational distribution and contribution to the GDP, agriculture was the leading sector. During this period Nigeria was the world’s second largest producer of cocoa, largest exporter of palm kernel and largest producer and exporter of palm oil. Nigeria was also a leading exporter of other major commodities such as cotton, groundnut, rubber and hides and skins (Alkali, 1997). The agricultural sector contributed over 60% of the GDP in the 1960s and despite the reliance of Nigerian peasant farmers on traditional tools and indigenous farming methods, these farmers produced 70% of Nigeria's exports and 95% ofits food needs (Lawal, 1997).
However, ever since the oil boom of 1970s resulting in the neglect of the agriculture sector, Nigeria has been witnessing extreme poverty and the insufficiency of basic food items as The sector now accounts for less than 30% of Nigeria’s GDP (Olagbaju and Falola, 1996).This scenario of agriculture losing its position in the economy led to the introduction of Agricultural development Projects (ADPs) in the late 1970s by the Nigerian government. The ADPs were designed in response to a fall in agricultural productivity, and hence a concern to sustain domestic food supplies, as labour had moved out of agriculture into more remunerative activities. The ADPs are to provide agricultural investment and services, rural roads, village water supplies, and mainstreaming of youth into agricultural activities. The government's adoption of the ADP concept put the smallholder farm participation at the centre of the agricultural development strategy (Independent Evaluation Group –IEG, 2009).As a result of this initiation by the Federal Government of Nigeria, various states constituted their State Agricultural Development Projects (SADPs) and kaduna Agricultural Development Project (KAD) came into being by the Edict No. 12 of Kaduna State Government on December 19, 1991 and took off with personnel and assets it inherited from Kaduna State and Benue State, the two States from which it was created in August 27, 1991 in order to harness the agricultural potentials of Kogi State and to facilitate rapid rural development, (KAD, 1995).It is on this background that this thesis is set to evaluate youth participation in Agriculture: the role and impact of Kaduna State Agricultural Development Project
1.2 Problem Statement
Ensuring timely access to agricultural inputs by farmers, among others, increases the potentials for higher yield, good resource utilization and improved rural life and livelihoods. However, the agricultural input sector in Nigeria has over the years been plagued by challenges of inefficiencies, ranging from: lack of awareness, diversion of inputs from intended beneficiaries, untimely distribution and poor access to supplies, often too low to meet quantity demanded (Takeshima and Saweda, 2013). Even when made available, inputs were not easily accessed without difficulties as the process for accessing such subsidized inputs are cumbersome (Chirwa and Dorward, 2013). Access rate to inputs in previous subsidy schemes have been reported to be significantly low (30%), despite the huge sums devoted towards such goals. This led to poor yield, because most farmers depend on government subsidized inputs and rain fed agriculture in Nigeria and other African countries (Folayan, 2013).
This study therefore, aimed at analysing participation of youths in agricultural activities in Jema’a local Government Area Kaduna State, Nigeria, the following research questions will be answered;
1. What are the socio-economic characteristics of youths in the study area?
2. What is the level of participation of youth in Jema’a local government area?
3. What are the constraints hindering the level of participation of youth in agricultural activities in Jema’a local government area?
The general objective of this study is to evaluate the participation of youths in agricultural activities in the Jema’a Local Government Kaduna State, Nigeria. The specific Objective of the study is to:
i. Identify the socio-economic characteristics of youth in Jema’a local government
ii. Identify youth participation in agricultural activities.
iii. describe the constraints hindering level of youth participation in agricultural activities.
1.4 Justification of the Study
Awareness on the participation of youth in agricultural activities will Improve access to cheap and affordable production inputs is clearly one of the objectives of agricultural subsidy programs. This is evidently due to the important roles input plays in the agricultural sector. For these goals to be achieved, it is important that the pulse of farmers be felt periodically by policy makers and solution providers in the agricultural sector. Evaluating women and youths perception is one of such ways through which information regarding farmers’ experiences of the farming scheme could be gleaned to serve as feedback to policy makers in order to complete the communication cycle.
This study therefore provides useful feedback to all stakeholders in the agricultural sector, namely; Policy makers in Government (both Federal and State), International and Local Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Private Sector, Academic and Research Institutions and others with interest in agriculture. Improvements, amendments and additions can therefore be made where necessary in order to ensure that the program achieves the objectives for which it was established; to make inputs available and accessible to farmers at the right time, right channel and in the right quantity necessary to support their scale of operation, for agriculture to be developed into a sustainable business and Nigeria to meet its domestic food needs and industrial raw material requirements.
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