His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ooni of Ife, has called on Nigerians to go back to agriculture, as it is the only sustainable business capable of ending the current recession in the country.
The Oba disclosed this recently in Abuja at the second Mike Omotosho Annual Lecture with the theme, “Increased Agricultural Productivity for Sustainable Economic Growth.”
The royal father said, “you don’t need dollars to plant crops. Our land is fertile and you don’t even need to apply fertilisers in some places, so let us go back to the farm. God has endowed Nigeria with the best weather in the world and the country’s agricultural products; cocoa, banana, plantain, vegetables, snails, among others, are the best and there are many areas to invest in agriculture.”
According to him, agriculture provides the largest employment platform, adding that he has brought thousands of youths back to farming, a move which he said has restored peace in his kingdom.
He urged Nigerians to promote the nation’s products and desist from heaping the entire blame on the government and do something individually to help themselves and the nation.
However, experts in the agricultural sector have proffered solutions to the numerous challenges that have bedevilled the agriculture sector over the years.
One of the discussants, a farmer and President of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Kabir Ibrahim, who noted that government’s agriculture policies worked more in rhetoric than reality, said for the sector to perform effectively, 10 per cent budgetary allocation as stipulated by the Maputo Declaration should be adhered to.
He said enabling environment for production and value addition should be created for actors in the entire value chain to increase production and reduce wastage of farm produce.
Another farmer, Mr. Tony Oboh, said good quality seeds/seedlings, fertilisers and other farm inputs, in addition to credit facilities, must be made available to farmers to enable them increase their productivity.
One of the discussants, Prof. Iyayi, said research, proper policy coordination, sincerity and youth empowerment are strong ingredients for boosting agriculture production in the country.
Another discussant, Dr. Angel Adelaja, identified creativity, innovation, technology and information dissemination as tools that will help the farmers in both production and marketing of their produce.
Earlier, Dr. Mike Omotosho, founder of the Mike Omotosho Foundation, stated that there was urgent need for increased agricultural productivity for home consumption and export to earn foreign exchange.
Also speaking, the Co-Chair of the occasion, Prof. Jacob Olupono, who said the neglect of agriculture landed the country in recession, noted that there was serious need for agricultural revolution and farmers’ empowerment.
Addressing the audience, the Vice President, Nigeria AgriBusiness Group, Emmanuel Ijewere, urged stakeholders to carry out research to know the best ways to prevent farm produce from perishing and inform local farmers in order to reduce post-harvest losses.
He called on the government and relevant bodies to make available good quality seeds, fertilisers and other farm inputs and put in place good infrastructure to boost agricultural production.
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