OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI
Your Excellency sir,
Permit me to cut to the chase and make my point without the usual lengthy often flowery words writers use when writing high profile personalities; pardon me also for attempting to send you an unsolicited advice via an open mail through the social media sir.
Mr President sir I am compelled to write you in regard of the N5000 pledged to unemployed Nigerian graduates during the campaign days and the issues surrounding it now of the inability keep that promise as well as “that agriculture is the priority”. Mr President sir I will attempt to condense the 18 paged agricultural based solution i have scripted that will not only boost food security and create massive youth employment but a hurricane of wealth creating opportunities that will accelerate the ” patronize made in Nigeria ” vision for evolvement of youth driven industrialization.
The FOOD BASKET REVOLUTION (FBR) as I tagged it is an agricultural based initiative and the reason for adopting the sector isn’t unconnected with the fact that “70% of the labor force” is engaged in that sector” and “small holder farmers and small farms produce about 80% of the total food, 36.7 million hacters or 33% of Nigeria’s landmass.
WHO ARE FBR’s TARGET?
The FBR idea basically seeks to target three classes of people along program duration of short, medium and long term and these include ..
1. Smallholder farmers (SHORT TERM: strengthening and repositioning of present state to boost food security and poverty alleviation)
2. Youths and women (SHORT AND MEDIUM TERM: New entrants to address youth unemployment and boost local industrialization; create wealth and poverty alleviation)
3. The young ( LONG TERM: Introduce entrepreneurship as key competence into our secondary school curricula, this has a different report of its own and has been discussed at such levels that include office of the UN Secretary envoy on youth)
HOW DOES THE CONCEPT OF FBR APPLIES?
The approach to a succcessful implementation of FBR will see the concept divided into Categorization, Organization/Cooperatives, Training, Funding, Monitoring and Annual/Harvest exhibition and competition.
Briefly ” Categorization” as the first stage is where the concept seek to introduce the ” 1-2″ strayegy, this is where the country is categorised into agro-ecological zones or regions and each region and or zone engages in 2 indigenous cash crops. It is worthy to note that the concept doesn’t end at just farming and harvesting but shall extend to every single bit of the value addition stages.
For example, Borno is known for the production of Ground-nuts. This when taken up as a crop for production should see it go through all value chains, thus, oil and feed mill industries can evolve from this, various snacks such as peanuts and other related products can be made from such. Since time immemorial to date the famous “kolji mandawa” of Borno, sesame/Ridi and grated coconut/cocometi are still packaged in unattractive plain nylon. The packaging industry in this country should be repositioned to give our youths the opportunity to bring their ideas to market (Mr President the difference between popcorn and gurguru is packaging it was said).
WHAT ARE NOBEL FEATURES OF FBR?
One of the most important feature of this concept is the inclusion of “conditions” into the eligibility for participation, a modified approach of the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) model of the world bank where vulnerable households are given stipends to access basic Social amenities, however in this, I tagged it “SCHOOpreneurship… This is where a youth as a beneficiary will be given AGRICULTURAL sector based entrepreneurship establishing opportunity while in turn the beneficiary brings forth a child (be it from their household and or community) to be enrolled in school. In this times we need to not only boost school enrollment but boost cohesion and sense of responsibility among Nigerian youths.
Other features include the ” paperless loan scheme ” this is where at the initial project start up beneficiaries come in contact with less cash to avoid and or check one of the major problems facing youths and loan schemes- squandering of funds made to be revolved. However after the first cycle all funds are managed by beneficiaries as it is now believed they have worked for and own every bit of it (seriousness, determination and integrity check).
FBR as an idea and concept will not only boost food security and youth employment, but will alleviate poverty and create opportunities for local industries to spring up.
Thank you for your time Mr President sir.