Youth Farming and Nigeria's Development Dilemma: The Shonga Experiment
Volume 43 Issue 6
Published: 01 November 2012
Abstract: Youth farming is undergoing a transformation in Nigeria as the incentive framework for small‐scale farming changes. Rural‐urban migration, rural poverty, education and the new opportunities it affords, and technological change are among the drivers of this transformation. Meanwhile, as the demand for food commodities increases with urbanisation, an exodus of labour from the countryside threatens food sufficiency at the national level. Agrarian policy faces a difficult threefold choice between state‐supported large‐scale commercial farming, training young farmers for small‐scale commercial farming, and continuing present policies of improving incentive structures for small‐scale peasant farmers. In Kwara State, the Shonga experiment in large‐scale commercial methods, involving 13 Zimbabwean farmers, is viewed through the lens of youth farming and the necessary transfer of national food provisioning to a new generation of producers. It is found that youth farming is likely to be as dependent on state subsidies as the Zimbabweans are.