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On the Nigerian National Youth Manifesto on Agriculture
October 6, 2017
African Heads of State at the 23rd Ordinary Session of the African Union in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, in June 2014 adopted the “Malabo Declaration’’ to accelerate agricultural growth and transformation to lift Africa out of poverty. The 2014 declaration was a formal commitment by the AU Heads of State and Government to provide effective leadership for efforts to achieve some specific goals by the year 2025. The goals include ending hunger on the continent and tripling intra-African trade in agricultural goods, among others.
The Malabo Declaration replaced the popular Maputo Declaration, whose major thrust was the recommendation for African governments to allocate 10 per cent of its national budgets to agriculture and food production. However, African states did not come close to abiding by the recommendations of the document. So, it is the same concern that the Malabo Declaration may go the way of the Maputo Declaration at the end of the day, i.e. without achieving any perceptible policy change in Nigeria, which makes one understand the importance of a document like the Nigerian National Youth Manifesto on Agriculture.
The Manifesto was put together in August 2013, in a process inspired by the GROWversation project of Oxfam (which I discussed on this space at that time), and led by the indigenous youth-led non-governmental organisation, Fresh and Young Brains Development Initiative. Since its establishment, the Manifesto has guided policymakers in the agricultural sector, specifically the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, in mainstreaming the youths in national agricultural projects.