February 10 of every year has been designated by the United Nations to reiterate the essential role pulses play in the environmental, economic and social aspects of human life.
The significance of the day surpasses the ‘Zero Hunger’ sustainable goal of the UN but is also important in achieving some objectives of its ‘Agenda 2030’.
The celebration aims at creating public awareness about the contribution of pulses to the improvement of the agri-food systems to aid enriched production, nutrition, and extensively, a good life for all.
The United Nations defined pulses (also known as legumes) as 'the edible seeds of leguminous plants cultivated for food'. Beans, lentils and peas are the most common types of pulses consumed.
The theme for the 2022 World Pulse Day, ‘Pulses to Empower Youth in Achieving Sustainable Agrifood Systems’ captures the role of the younger ones in promoting the future of food through active involvement in the agri-food systems.
Nigeria is counted among the biggest pulses-producing countries in the world. Therefore, while the government, the private sector and the general public must be involved in the process of the production and consumption of pulses, the role of the youth in Nigeria in achieving the sustainable agri-food systems goal cannot be over-emphasised.
Below are four ways the Nigerian youth can propagate pulse-driven agriculture in Nigeria.
One solid backbone of the Nigerian economy is Agriculture and as such requires improvement from time to time. However, one major problem with Agriculture in Nigeria is the use of outdated farming techniques which could be as a result of lack of access to new techniques or lack of knowledge on how to use the new techniques provided. The consequence of this is reduced speed which brings about reduced productivity and loss of nutritional value of pulses.
This is one junction the Nigerian youth can come in. They can act as bridge builders between the old farming techniques and new technologies by intentionally innovating farming implements and by making themselves available to assist the older farmers in making use of new farming techniques and machines such as hand-operated fertilizer drills, combined harvesters, hand-operated planters, tractors, and harrows. By doing this, speed is increased, the nutritional value of pulses are maintained, and productivity also increases, leading to a better economy.
We live in a world where technology allows us to share information with millions of people in a split second. One of the major uses of social media is for promotion. The Nigeria youth who are more active users of social media can leverage the different platforms for the promotion of pulses in Nigeria. They can do this by publicising the financial and economic benefits of pulses on different social media platforms while also making the public aware of the available business opportunities in agri-food.
Not only should the youth assist the older ones in improving their pulse farming but they should also become pulse farmers. With the rate of unemployment in the country, rather than the endless search for a white-collar job, pulse farming is a good option for the younger people.
With more strength, more access to information, and technological know-how, the youth will unarguably thrive in pulse farming.
This will not only provide a means of livelihood for them but also improve the dwindling Nigerian economy.
One way the youth can be involved in the improvement of the economy through agriculture is by involving themselves in the process of transporting pulses from the farmers to the consumers.
With the youthful energy present and a good knowledge of driving, they should not hold back in using the required means of transportation to transport pulses from their producers to the consumers. The use of vehicles to transport pulses is also a source of income for the youth.
However, to increase the zeal of the Nigerian youth in pulse agriculture, the necessities such as infrastructure, education, and encouragement must be put in place.
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