Obasanjo articulated his plea on Friday in Abuja during the launch of the "Youths in Agribusiness" project, which revolved around the theme, "Enabling Scaling of Innovative Technologies for Sustainable Food Solutions."
He explained that expecting young individuals to thrive in agriculture when they have to borrow funds at an exorbitant 20 percent interest rate from banks would be an uphill battle. Obasanjo stressed that the key to fostering success in the agricultural business lies in providing the youth with accessible financial resources at rates that are conducive for the agricultural sector.
The former president then called upon the Federal Government to devise solutions that facilitate the youth's access to financing, particularly at interest rates that align with the specific needs and demands of the agriculture industry.
He said, “I believe any interest that is more than single digit is not good enough for agriculture.”
According to him, agricultural stakeholders have done tremendous work in providing the right seed, hybrid seed, high yielding seed and knowledge that can used be used to transform the agribusiness sector.
“But we need more of these scientific and technological products in the farmers’ hands so that farmers can be better on what they get in terms of yields,” he said.
He said that food production, food security and nutritional security were very important in Nigeria and there was also need to create jobs for the teeming population of youth in the country.
Wouter Plomp, the Netherlands Ambassador to Nigeria, announced a new initiative called the Youth Agribusiness Program, a three-year endeavor infused with the spirit of Nigerian determination and Dutch innovation to support 8000 young "agripreneurs" as part of a broader strategy to address food insecurity.
The primary objective is to empower the nation's youth, providing them with access to financial resources and linking young agripreneurs with both local and international markets.
During the unveiling of this initiative, Senator Abubakar Kyari, the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, emphasized the 2023 World Food Day campaign's focus on water's role in ensuring food stability to advocates for the prudent use of water resources to boost food security.