Green Economy, Panacea to Rising Poverty, Says Don

A scholar, Professor Bola Okuneye, of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Farm Management, has advocated for the adoption of the Green Economy, as panacea to taking Nigeria out of the rising poverty in the face of its ever-increasing population. The Don gave this advice at the 14th Professor Anthony Afolabi Adegbola Memorial lecture, held recently, in Lagos which was titled, “The Green Economy and Agricultural Progress in Nigeria: The Economics of Unutilised Resources”. According to Professor Okuneye, Nigeria’s agricultural practice fully started from the Colonial era when the colonialists had the objective of re-orientating the local farming systems towards meeting and serving the demands of their home countries. He stated further that Nigeria was blessed with high level of oil and agricultural resources and that despite the large revenue derived from the oil sector, agriculture remained the main stay of the economy. The Don said, historically, there was no country that had made economic progress without recording appreciable gains in its agricultural sector. He defined Green Economy, according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), to mean an improvement in human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing the attendant environmental risks and ecological scarcities.

“Practically speaking, a Green Economy is one whose growth in income and employment is driven by public and private investments that reduce carbon emissions and pollution, enhance energy and resource efficiency and prevent the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services”, he stated. This initiative includes promoting the Green Economy report and related research materials, which would analyse the macro-economic sustainability and poverty reduction implications of engaging in green investment in a range of sectors from renewable energy to sustainable agriculture by providing guidance on policies that could lead to an increase in investment in these sectors,others.

Professor Okuneye, therefore, called on all to embrace the Green Economy as a solution to reducing poverty in the land. Other benefits include prospects for job-creation, enhancement of social equity and energy efficiency. He added that there were several opportunities in funding a Green Economy, as long as governments at all levels show serious commitment to the programme and stakeholders namely – the government, private sector, as well as a combination of the public-private partnership initiative. He also identified major constraints that could befall the practice of Green Economy in a nation like Nigeria. They are: Extensive system of grazing, the usual non-continuity of development programmes, adoption of the fallow system of farming, weak implementation of the Land Use Act, low agricultural financing, poor foreign policy provision on international commodity market and inadequate environmental laws and regulations. He, however, suggested that implementing the programmes in Nigeria should rather be in phases, beginning with the agricultural component while other sectors, such as transportation, works and housing, should follow later.

Last Updated on December 16, 2014 by admin

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