By Feyisayo Adeyemi
Last Sunday Rubbin Minds featured an exclusive interview with The Future Awards 2011 Young Person of the Year, Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu. As the award year is almost over, Rubbin Minds presenter, Adebola Williams, interviewed Nnaemeka on his experience as a winner of that category and what he had been up to since January when he received the award.
Sporting an organic coloured local batik shirt, Ikegwuonu spoke about his involvement, methods and achievements in promoting agriculture.
Nnaemeka explained that he has been involved in agriculture from a tender age.
“I grew up in a family of 5, coming back from school and going to the farm. At around 11, I had a small poultry”. His love for agriculture grew over the years. Though he wanted to be a journalist, he could not after two attempt at the matriculation exam, JAMB.
With the aim of educating rural farmers on contemporary and effective farming practices, he runs a radio outreach programme on educating farmers; the show has a following of over 250,000 listeners in 7 Local Government Areas in his own region in Imo State. When asked about the future of agriculture, Nnaemeka believes that Agriculture has to get a significant place in the budget and could solve the problem of unemployment amongst youth of the nation.
“We can create farm settlements throughout the federation. Agriculture needs to be important on the national budget,” he said.
He stressed that development can only be sustained when local people get involved. This he expressed as the factor that attracts international organization to his foundation “The fact that we are working in an unattractive sector and that we live in Nigeria is very attractive”
Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu, a 28 year old young man from Nkwerre in Imo State, to borrow the words of Adebola Williams, “is the ultimate role model for young people”. Nnaemeka will be back on Rubbin Minds to share more experiences and inspire youth across the nation.
He is an Agriculture Advocate, a Rolex Laureate, an Ashoka Fellow and a Winner of WISE Award. He is the founder of the Smallholders Foundation which he started in 2003. Nnaemeka has a Bachelor Degree in History and International Studies and Masters in Cooperation and Development.