An open Letter to Agricultural Students

MY dear friend Emmie Kio from Kenya had put up this open letter on her blog. I totally agree with her and found it worth sharing with you all . Enjoy reading ..


Dear Agricultural students,

“Go to the University and get yourself a degree.Be grateful that you got a chance to be part of the team” . This is just one of the many statements you will encounter in your path to learning that agricultural course . 

Its these statements that will make you feel awful as to why you didn’t get that Medicine position that you so hoped to and what you never thought of choosing during the JAB selection process turns out to be what you get. Now this is what happens. Agricultural sciences have been degraded in the past often being given the last option.During the JAB courses allocation, when all  other disciplines have their fill  the remaining un-allocated  students are lumped in to the Agricultural sciences as very few students pick them as their first choice.

Well you have no choice. You go with what is written in black and white. Three weeks after commencing your studies, your classmates  will do inter-faculty transfers with a majority of them blindly escaping to Faculty of Arts, BA to be specific. They cite reasons like Economics students have the say in campus when it comes to dressing and partying. Don’t despair. You never came to school for dressing or partying reasons. You came to gain knowledge. You neighbors and some family members will also be on your neck disapproving your choice of  career, telling you how scanty jobs are in the agricultural arena.Listen to their concerns and be wise enough to settle on the best decision. And while at it, be bold enough to tell them that as farmers ………….

For without food there’s basically nothing the economist or the technology person can do. They all depend on farmers for daily sustenance. So imagine what happens when a new generation of farmers isn’t raised to replace the old one? I bet you must have read that the average age of a farmer in Kenya is above 55 years of age constituting mostly of the old and retired. So what will happen when there’s no one to continue the farming profession?We shall all starve and die, right? Or maybe manufacture our food in the laboratories.

In addition to showing that you aren’t in the scam of professions, consider Prince Williams ,the Duke of Cambridge, who chose to enroll  himself  for an Agricultural Management course at Cambridge University so as to gain a deeper understanding of  issues affecting Agricultural businesses and rural communities in the UK. And it doesn’t end there. We have  celebrities the likes of Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Russell Crowe all preferring to get down in their farms.
(Olawale OJO- And even D’banj in Nigeria)

“I don’t think any place of dirt anywhere in the world means more to me than this.” 
Russell Crowe

So, Why am i saying this?

Its basically to show you that you are what you believe you are. And any career is as important as you deem it right in your mind. Passion is what it takes to be what you want to be and to be gracefully good while at it and job opportunities will follow you. And that is regardless of what people will tell you about the farming career. Let it come from within you.

Enough said so,……..

Yours’ farming


You can read the original Post here



“Agribusiness, Cool business” were the words on the lips of the 39 youths that came together in Akure Ondo state Nigeria on the 21st of November 2012 to be part of the COOL TO FARM Workshop series by Agropreneur Nigeria and the OAC-Agro Advocacy Initiative.

The main purpose of the workshop was to show to the youth that agriculture can be and is a sexy profession and self sustaining at that. It was designed to help the youths present understand their role in the agricultural value chain and what skills they needed to acquire to fit into the links.

The workshop featured speakers from all sectors such as the All Farmer’ Association of Nigeria (AFAN) Ondo State Branch: Mr. Idowu Oludare who happens to be the General Secretary at the Grasscutter Rearing Commodity, Mr Isaac Oluwalade: the Nigeria Representative of the World Cocoa Foundation who works in partnership with IITA on the Cocoa Livelihood Program, Tosin Awoyinka, a 23 year old ginger juice producer who represented the Agro processing industry and Mr Bolaji Ogunseye an UNDP consultant with 25 years experience in poverty alleviation.

The youths listened attentively as each speaker spoke during the panel session. The interactions were superb as they asked insightful and informative questions to help them get on track. Some of the questions include “how can we diversify and how do we replant incase of inherited cocoa farms?, “What are the procedures to join the farmers organisations?”, and “are there organisations to assist startups like us ?”.

Twenty out of the thirty-nine expressed interest in joining the farmer’s organization right away. The Nigeria Representative of the World Cocoa Foundation, Isaac Oluwalade, who was present to show the opportunities in the cocoa sector in Nigeria had this to say at the end of the event:

“we are happy that the youths are beginning to show interest in the sector and we would continue to work with the organizers of this workshop to reach more youth with the message”

One interesting feature of the workshop was the presentation on YPARD it activities and how the youths can get involved in them. Olawale Ojo who made the presentation to the audience stressed the fact that YPARD was opened to all who were professional in agriculture and not necessary those in research or academics only. He emphasis the importance of not just becoming members of the network but also that they should be active in at least one of the four focus of YPARD which are to promote agriculture among young people, to facilitate access to resources and information for cabacity building, to enabling environment for networking and exchange of information among young professional and to broaden opportunities for young professionals to contribute to ARD policy debate. The youths who had all obtained promotional YPARD flyers also put down their email contact for future follow up. We look forward to have them join the YPARD family.

The experience sharing and breakout sessions afforded the youth to express their feeling, successes and challenges faced in the sector. And by moderated interactions they were able to come up with solutions and suggestions that can be implemented easily.

The workshop went beyond just the walls of the venue as there were live tweets of the events using the hash tag #cooltofarm and this allowed for interaction with those not present at the event showing the power of social media. Pre event announcements were made using both social media and traditional media. As a matter of fact, most of those present registered beforehand through social media. The traditional media was also used as a source of information dissemination as the “Cool to Farm” workshop made the news item on the morning of the event and a post event interview was conducted on state television channel to emphasis more on the role the youth play in this all important sector of the economy – Agriculture.

In the coming months the workshop would move to other cities in Nigeria. And we look forward to touching more youths with the message. Update can be found on