Dorcas Makopson, a Central Nigerian youth, says she prefers farming to any paid job.
She has only been farming, mainly maize and Irish potato for two years, but Dorcas, a graduate for over a decade has made more than she ever made when she was employed.
From one harvest, Dorcas got over 200 bags of Irish potato, she said, which earned her multiple times more than her previous job earnings for several years.
Currently, a bag of Irish potato in the local market costs between N10,000 and N15,000. 200 bags would therefore give between N2m and N2.5m. Dorcas barely invested up to 25% of that amount, in her 1hctr farm, located 10kms southeast of the Plateau State University, Bokkos.
Aside from the high earning, being self-employed is “more assuring than any paid job,” said Dorcas.
She said, “It is your personal business and no one can intimidate you in it. No one can take it away from you except natural disasters which are not peculiar to any person or business. But even at that, the greatest threat to crop production is pests and diseases and perhaps storage but with proper care, you have nothing to fear. But in a paid job, you could be sacked any time and left with nothing.”
Youths without jobs or on low-income jobs could try agriculture, which she said is flexible to allow anyone practice and still pursue their separate passions.
“It is not a full-time job so you can combine it with any other thing you are doing. It provides a reliable source of income to augment what you earn from your job,” she said.
Agriculture does have its difficulties, Dorcas admits, but with the right skills and knowledge, which she acquired through government sponsored training, acting on internet information, one is guaranteed to succeed, she said.
“The problem with most youths is they don’t want something that will take up to a month to yield profits. They also don’t want something that will stain their clothes; generally thinking agriculture is for poor, unenlightened people. But many leading economies of the world depend on agriculture to find their national budgets,” said Dorcas.
She however wishes government policies are designed to encourage youths to engage in agriculture, and contribute to national income.