According to the National Baseline Youth Survey (2012), the population of youths (15-35 years) in Nigeria was estimated to be 64million, where female were 51.6 percent and male were 48.4 percent.
Trading Economics, which provides its users with accurate information for 196 countries including historical data for more than 300,000 economic indicators, exchange rates, stock market indexes, government bond, yields and commodity prices has reported that youth unemployment rate in Nigeria has increased to 25.20 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016 from 25 percent in the third quarter of 2016.
As much as government can take advantage of growing population in the youths’ stratum of a country demographic structure by engaging them in viable economic activities in the area of agriculture, manufacturing, ICT, commercial services (buying and selling), sports, technical and vocational activities, military operations etc, allowing the youths to be at their wits’ end can be very counter-productive.
Nigeria’s present experience of allowing youths to wander aimlessly around in search of jobs that are not available do not start in one day. It was a resultant effect of rapacious corruption and many years of infrastructural neglect that have led to the death of many of our industries, both at national and state levels which would have given employment to the ever emerging youths.
Determined to stem the current tide, the Buhari administration introduced a new policy regime tagged Agriculture Promotion Policy, also known as The Green Alternative. Building on the successes and lesson learnt from the Agricultural Transformation Agenda of the former administration, the vision of Buhari administration for agriculture is to work with stakeholders to build an agribusiness economy capable of delivering sustained prosperity by meeting domestic food security goals, generating export and supporting sustainable income and job growth.
The five-year policy thrust (2016-2020) will see the Federal priorities in partnership with the state governments to promote and ensure food security, import substitution, job creation and economic diversification.
Realising the laudable objective of job creation of The Green Alternative is the introduction of Fadama GUYS by the Federal Government which targets Graduate Unemployed Youths (male and female).
Though, a grant to beneficiary youths, the support programme is being piloted in the States of Adamawa, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Benue, Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Ekiti, FCT, Jigawa, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Niger, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Sokoto and Taraba.
Applicants whose ages were between 18 and 35years old and had demonstrated passion for agriculture, planning to become an agro-prenuer through their written statements were requested to fill and submit an on-line application form hoisted by the National Coordination Office.
The initial target of 6,300 youths from the participating 21 states in the first phase was quite ambitious and rewarding. The selected 300 youths from each state had undergone intensive 2-week training in different fields of agricultural enterprises in 3 different institutions of higher learning in all the state involved.
Part of The Green Alternative programme is job creation and building agroprenuers. With the provision of starter-pack of between #700,000 and #1,000,000 to each successful youth for executing their business plans, realising the aforementioned goal is not far-fetched.
The Fadama GUYS has actually reinstated the fact that government in Nigeria can still be so altruistic, just as it has further increased the frontier of citizens’ confidence in governance. The Federal Government was dutiful and committed to the welfare of participating youths throughout the two-week training programme, as all the allowances promised were duly paid to them.
The selection process was still a type that beat the participants’ imagination. The impression of going through a godfather did not work. The youths acknowledged that every application was treated on its merit.