The Managing Director, Tourism World International Mr. Solomon Uwakwe, has advised Nigerian youths to embrace agro-tourism for wealth and job creation.
Uwakwe gave the advice during the 4th Tourism World International Commercial, Agro-tourism Conference and Awards held in Lagos.
The theme of the conference was: “infrastructure and Human Capital Development for Global Sustainable Hospitality and Tourism Growth”.
Uwakwe, organiser of the conference, said that employment opportunities abound in the tourism industry but the agro-tourism aspect would require minimal capital for Nigerian youths to operate successfully.
He said agro-tourism entailed the creation of farm or green houses and exhibition of agriculture produce in diverse forms for local and international tourists to see.
According to him, the agro-tourism sector required the investor to engage in feasibility studies and market survey after which the investor begins to reap the gains unlike destination and eco-tourism where so much investment is involved.
“As far as am concerned, agro-tourism is still a virgin industry in Nigeria because Nigerians want quick returns on investments like the one derived from oil.
“We are nowhere in the development of agro-tourism because we have no farm or green houses, we do not hold exhibitions of our agricultural produce; these are areas the hard working youths can leverage on.
“I challenge Nigerians to invest in this sector so that we can properly showcase our agricultural endowments as a nation, get liberated from unemployment and poverty,” he said.
Uwakwe urged the Nigerian Government to allocate fallow portions of land to interested youths, give incentives to them to engage in agriculture ventures.
“This would make the nation self sufficient in food production as we all know that if a nation is hungry, it will definitely be angry,” he said.
Expanding with festivities
One of the speakers, an official of the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism, Mrs Catherine Ejike urged local communities to expand the scope of the annual new yam festivals peculiar with some communities in Nigeria.
She said during the festival, yams could be exhibited in different forms as raw, roasted, fried, pounded and other yam derivatives to attract tourists.
According to her, the country’s local food varieties are enormous and could be exhibited for all to see how creative communities could be in terms of culinary tourism.
She said the culinary and agro-tourism could be used as revolutionary tools to boost nation’s economy.
“We should be able to hold agro-tourism exhibitions where our local cuisines derived from our agriculture activities could be showcased; Nigeria is blessed with diverse food products.
“Each State should focus on food production, promote local food products peculiar to them, some State are known for tomatoes production, yam, beans, rice, vegetables and all.
“The local production of these food items should be encouraged and promoted,” she concluded.