The Rector, Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta, Dr. Samson Odedina has called for the need to scale up Agricultural solutions and practices to enhance National Development in the country.
Dr. Odedina made this call while delivering the FUNAAB Alumni 21st Convention and 20th Annual Lecture series titled “Agricultural and National Development, Scaling Agricultural Solutions for Sustainable National Development”.
According to the Guest Lecturer 70% of the Nigerian populace engage in agricultural production at subsistence level and noted that agricultural sector was one of the most important sectors in the country as it employs around 70% of Nigerian labour force.
He restated that the advent of petroleum boom in the early 70’s caused the neglect of agriculture. Critically analyzing the reasons why food security is not achieved in Nigeria, Dr. Odedina pointed out that government did not play supportive role and individuals see agriculture as our culture rather than seeing it as a business.
According to Dr. Odedina, the lack of mechanized equipment, poor level of agricultural education, limited or zero access to credit facilities, import supply and linkage and high volume of agricultural imports among others are the problems facing agricultural development in Nigeria.
The Guest Lecturer said that if attention is paid to agriculture by the government and individuals, agriculture can generate wealth and employment, reduce poverty, improve food security, among others.
He enumerated solutions to the problems facing agriculture in Nigeria to include Creating Modern Agricultural Education Programme for Farmers, Farm Mechanization and Hands-on Training, Rehabilitation and upgrade of Agricultural Research and Training Facilities in Colleges, Polytechnics, Universities, Research Institutes and Vocational Centres.
Other solutions listed are, Farming Friendly Government Policies, Incentives for Nigerian Youths for more engagement in Agriculture through Entrepreneurship Education and Credit Facilities for Start-ups, Farming friendly Government Projects such as Solar/Wind Projects/Irrigation Projects, Highly Developed and Less-rigorous system for Credit Facilities and input supply to Farmers and Import Solution.
He also listed examples of scaling up required to provide needed solutions to include Government support in the area of providing Multilateral Finance Assistance from Global Institutions for Agricultural Development, Federal Government funded Agricultural programmes, such as the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA), Green Alternative Programme (GAP); Non-Governmental Organization’s support; Special Privately/Internationally Funded Projects such as CAVA, CIAT/Harvest Plus.
Other means listed by Dr. Odedina are, through Advocacy; Youth Engagement; Students Industrial Work Experience; Innovative (Online) Platforms; Youth Entrepreneurship/Empowerment Programmes such as Specialized Borrowers Programmes, Cooperate Entrepreneurship Programmes and Reality TV Programmes.
The Guest Lecturer equally noted that the future scaling up in Agricultural Solutions lies in Business opportunities in Stem and Root production, Garri and Fufu production, Food and Hospitality sector, among others.