According to Rufus Idris, the country director for Nigeria at Heifer International, the organization has invested $1 billion in 48 years to help the continent attain food security.
Idris claims that the money was invested to support various agricultural initiatives throughout Africa.
At the Ayute Africa Challenge’s official launch, he made this statement.
He added that Heifer would be investing an additional $6.5 million this year to expand the agricultural value chain, bringing the company’s total investment in its tractor for Africa initiative to over $4.5 million.
He said that the company has so far been successful in Nigeria in providing 40 tractors to operators near smallholder farmers to power, mechanized farming.
“We plan that by 2030, through our tractor for Africa campaign, we should be able to distribute roughly 10,000 tractors among the nations where we are now active.
However, he asserted that the Ayute Africa challenge offers a venue for technology companies and innovators to find problems that smallholder farmers face and develop solutions.
“You must be a young person aged 35 or under to take part in this challenge. You need a start-up with a solution that addresses a gazillion problems in the agricultural sector, he insisted.
He bemoaned the severe food situation that exists in Nigeria and said that the country needs its youth to attain food security.
He emphasized the need for young people to develop inventions and technologies that would deal with pressing problems in the agricultural sector.
He continued by saying that Nigeria needed young people and new technologies to change the agricultural sector and lower food inflation in a nation where food prices are increasing.
Abisola Olusanya, the commissioner for agriculture in Lagos State, also gave a speech in which she claimed that the lack of youth involvement in agriculture was caused by the country’s inability to recognize and honor young people and individuals who have achieved success in the agricultural industry.
She expressed regret that the people had come to take food distribution and systems for granted and predicted that as long as there are ethnic and tribal wars in Nigeria, there will be problems with these systems.
Only then, she continued, “will we start to realize how important it is for us to grow our food, and that is where technology comes into play.”
She added that the perceived unprofitability of agriculture and the lack of access to money, technical skills, training, and capacity building are other factors that contribute to the low engagement of young people in agriculture.
Before implementing technology, she claimed, the nation’s agriculture industry must change people’s perceptions of it. She added that doing so would draw more young people into the industry.
The largest obstacle to agricultural progress, according to her, has been a lack of data since it makes it difficult to make decisions.