There is the urgent need for government at all levels to tap into the potentials that abound in agriculture in order to create job opportunities and wealth in the country.
The Rector of Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta, Dr. Samson Odedina, made this call in a lecture he delivered at the 20th Annual Lecture Series organised by the Alumni Association of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, FUNAAB.
The lecture is titled “Agriculture and National Development: Scaling Agricultural Solutions for Sustainable National Development.”
Odedina described agriculture as one of the most important sectors in a predominantly agricultural society like Nigeria, which has approximately 70 per cent of her population engaging in agricultural production at a subsistence level.
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He identified Services, Manufacturing, Petroleum/Oil and Agriculture as the major sectors contributing to Nigeria’s economy, pointing out that petroleum boom in the early 70s unfortunately led to the neglect of the agricultural sector in Nigeria.
He said the neglect of agriculture had contributed to the low prices paid to farmers in the domestic market all in order to satisfy urban demands for cheap basic food products.
He said that was despite the availability of needed resources like water, land, manpower and good weather.
He commended the contribution of the authorities of FUNAAB for their collaborative efforts to sustaining Nigeria’s heritage on agricultural production through the scope of youth involvement and increased farm/farmers productivity.
While reflecting on Nigeria’s targets for agricultural transformation as at 2015 on job opportunities for about 3.5 million citizens, wealth creation with about 4 billion dollars and food security of 20 million metric tons to domestic food supply, the Rector of MAPOLY suggested the rehabilitation of agricultural research and training facilities in colleges, polytechnics, universities, research institutes and vocational centres as a possible solution to agricultural system problems.
He added that farming- friendly government policies and projects, modern agricultural education programmes for farmers, farm mechanisation and hand-on training, incentives for Nigerian youths for more engagement in agriculture through entrepreneurship education and credit facilities for start-up were capable bringing agricultural solutions for sustainable national development.
Dr. Odedina enjoined governments and agricultural stakeholders at all levels to secure lasting solutions to the problems faced by agricultural development to aid its sustainability.
That, according to him, would further boost the promotion of agricultural products for a sustainable national development.
Dr. Odedina was at the occasion recognised by FUNAAB Alumni Association for his relentless contributions to agriculture in Nigeria.
Present at the occasion were the Pro-Chancellor of FUNAAB, Aboki Zhawa; Vice Chancellor, Prof. Felix Salako; management staff of FUNAAB, paramount rulers and other well-meaning Nigerians.