Agriculture: Awakening the Youth to the reality of the 21st Century – by Wale Bakare

Published:6 Feb, 2013

As far back as the early 80s – Nigerias post colonial Agricultural revolution recorded some remarkable feat in the global world. Farming became the imported old bride for the previously stone-aged dwellers having learned the rudiments during the pre colonial era and it was fully mastered by the end of the same era. Crop production, Fish farming and livestock production contributed greatly to the economy, between 1960 and 1970, the country’s GDP quadrupled while the other sector of the economy largely (dependent  on Agriculture) witnessed a steady growth. The land embellished with green vegetation, pastures grow in abundance for  the livestock grazing and nomadic farming was practiced devoid of ethnic violence. Rice silos and yam barns of different sizes built were visible along the farm boundaries, irrigation channels flowed freely to nourish the germinating foliages.  Nigeria’s cash crop market boomed, and we could hardly meet international export demand as volume increased incessantly. Neighbouring countries benefited immensely from our Agricultural exploit, the bilateral trade relationship flourished unimpeded.

 

Still In the 80s,  before the regime of General Ibrahim Babangida, the Nigeria currency- Naira exchanged for N0.765 against the U.S dollar, the appreciation of  the  Naira during this lofty days is as a result of the vibrancy in the Agriculture and  the manufacturing sector. This was a defining moment in Nigeria, before its very eyes, the Naira exchanged for $1, subsequently  corruption took its full swipe in the early 90s to signal the end of an era- “The Agricultural age”. Once these two key sectors (Agriculture and Manufactuirng) were neglected by the government the resultant corollary is the over reliance on crude oil which has further wobbled us down in the pecking order of developing country toiling to make an impression for close to three decades. Well, you want to know how weak the Naira is today compared to the early 80s? The devil they say is in the details.

 

The progressive march continued till the year 1998, agriculture once again precepts the direction of the our gross domestic product.  According to World Bank estimates, agricultural GDP increased at an annual rate of 2.9% in 1990-98. At the that time, Agriculture accounted for 40% of our non-oil foreign  exchange earnings, thus providing full time employment to about 70% of the active labour force of the population.

 

That was as far as  the “baby”  was incubated. Oil became the new Agriculture of my generation. Owning an oil block was more worthy than tilling the land.  Agriculture was brazenly neglected, this could be regarded as a conscious effort by the government as evidence in its annual budgetary allocation for the Agric Sector. Agriculture became sacrosanct  and you’d be adjudicated as one the less privileged Nigerian should you  insist on towing this uncommon path as a means of livelihood. Regrettably , this is where the youth today derived its conceived ideology that “The Poor will till the land for the rich” . Blame them not, blame the prejudice society who readily placed a low premium on Agriculture and its produce.

 

Today, a scarce white collar job will bring much more certainty than venturing into Agriculture with so much bewilderment. The local farmers are neglected to dwell in their crude outmoded way of farming and government looks on to the decay of this once vibrant sector. In the Nigerian context the real cause of hunger is the powerlessness of the poor to gain access to the resources they need to feed themselves. With the youth making up the larger proportion not much is done to empower them.  It is no longer attractive to the teeming majority, to engage in crop production , poultry or fish farm. The newest craze in the society justifies and celebrate ill gotten wealth while we are quick to cast aspersion on the poor but diligent ones. That is the challenge you and I face in the emerging trend of the current society we live.

 

Life on a farm requires patience, your input during the farming  season determines your overall output.  American Agriculturist Wendell Berry in his book, The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture  wrote “The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.” We can agree here that everything revolves around the earth, what we make of it is entirely up to us. Most of us have transgressed from this mien, the consequences we reap by virtue  of our handy work. We no longer see the soil (land in this context) as the framework to support plant growth, the land entirely has a different meaning to us. Real estate, land poaching and bureaucracy take its toll.

 

Successive government lacks the prerequisite knowledge and technique to tackle youth unemployment taking advantage of the energetic youthful population. What we need is an Agricultural decentralization that will bring about genuine growth of the sector. Similitude to the type practiced in Ondo State and Kwara State. Under Governor Olusegun  Mimiko’s  “HEART” project birthed the Ondo State Agricultural Farm village project which debuts 1,500 graduate resident farmers. The agricultural village houses the young graduates and farmers equipped with modern agricultural facilities. This project sourced with  extensive training to reduce unemployment has catered for  the livelihood of over 10,000 young graduates since inception. Similarly, the former Kwara State governor Dr Bukola  Saraki now  a senator on Environment and  Ecology achieved one of the near impossible landmark in the agricultural revolution of the state by taking the bold step to revamp the agriculture sector. The Shonga farm project absorbed displaced Zimbabwean farmers with  access to 1000 hectares of land with a long commercial lease. Over 6,000 young graduates were employed as the production capacity expanded. Food security steadily increased in  the state, the Shongai farm activities which majored on dairy, poultry and mixed has a capacity for producing 12million broiler chickens per year,  as well as the potential of 50,000 litres of milk per day, which would potentially generate $12million for the state.

 

The aforementioned strides provides a modicum of hope that given the right leadership approach, dedication and selflessness other states can harness the opportunity in Agric to turn around the fortune of the state. Government needs to show  renewed commitment to meet the problems militating against Agriculture; Attention has been drawn severally to the use of crude tools and implements, lack of credit facilities as most banks do not  offer loans to small scale farmers. The financial institutions should be compelled to give loans to genuine farmers and the interest rate should be relatively low. Value chain disconnects, transportation, road networks, the land tenure system, proper storage of Agric produce, Agricultural education with sound extensive services and ultimately, a change in attitude of people towards Agriculture are but a few of the quandary in urgent need of attention.
Agric-loans granted to the government by professional bodies such as Investors Business Daily, Africa Development Bank, the World Bank and the Green Revolution programme should be channeled appropriately to develop this sector to improve our foreign exchange thus reducing over reliance on imported foods. Agricultural professional organisations and institutions in conjunction with the government must rise to meet the demands of the Agricultural sector, else the giant of Africa may end up begging for food from its immediate neighbours should the oil dry up by the year 2040 as envisaged by the experts. It is never too late to implement the right policies, Nigeria is staring famine in the face and we the youths are the solution to it.

 

Wale Bakare

  • http://Www.Alivestudios.Co.uk/ Www.Alivestudios.Co.Uk

    Visit: where you will be able to benefit from business intelligence topics and content.
    Macrovision comes in the form of signals embedded into the tape that are meant to keep
    you from copying the media. But slowly with time
    as it is known that every fruit comes to an end to rot this technology also started
    falling apart from its run.

    Cine Film To DVD (http://Www.Alivestudios.Co.Uk)

Related Posts

Recent Posts

PDP Crisis Deepens As BoT Defies NWC, Sacks Chairman

The crisis in Nigeria’s major opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, deepened Wednesday as the Board of Trustees, BoT, held its meeting, thereby defying the decision of the National Working Committee that all meetings of the organs of the party be shifted to next week. The spokesperson of the party, Olisa Metuh, had on Monday issued a statement saying the meeting of the National Caucus of the party had been shifted to Monday next week, while...

189 Shiite Members Remanded In Prison

Some 189 Shiite members, who thought they could be granted bail on Wednesday, had their hopes dashed, as a Kaduna Magistrate Court remanded them in prison. The members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria were arrested during the December 12, 2015 clash with the army in Zaria. The bloody clash reportedly claimed hundreds of lives.  Already a 13-man Judicial Commission of Inquiry had been set up by the Kaduna State Government to unravel the circumstances...

Kourtney Kardashian & Kylie Jenner Hit New York

The Kardashian sisters take New York fiercely. Kourtney Kardashian and little sister, Kylie Jenner, storm New York wearing furry coats and killer boots. Now we have no idea what they are up to but bet we will find out soon. The sisters both shared these photos on their Instagram pages. See photos below:

Buhari Arrives Abuja From London (PHOTOS)

President Mohammadu Buhari has returned from his brief vacation. The President landed Abuja this night from London. His official photographer, Bayo Omoboriowo, shared these photos on his Instagram page. See photos below:

51 Feared Dead In Dikwa Suicide Attack

At least 51 people died in a suicide bomb attack in Dikwa, a local council in Borno State, villagers say. Seventy-eight injured persons have also been evacuated to Maiduguri, the capital city for treatment. A mass burial has already been conducted for the deceased victims, mostly women and children. Dikwa, 80 kilometres from Maiduguri, once occupied by the Boko Haram terrorists, was declared liberated by the Nigerian Army since July last year. Credit:...

Alleged Bribe: Otedola To Testify Against Farouk Lawan

Billionaire businessman, Mr. Femi Otedola, has been scheduled to appear as a prosecution witness before a Federal Capital Territory High Court in Lugbe, Abuja, in the ongoing trial of a former Chairman, House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy, Mr. Farouk Lawan, for alleged bribery. The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission is prosecuting Lawan for allegedly “corruptly” collecting $500,000 out of the $3m bribe he requested from Otedola in exchange for the...

Local Vehicle Manufacturer IVM Makes Parts For Nigerian Jet Fighters

Chief of the Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Sadique Baba Abubakar has applauded the management of Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company for its support to the military by providing technical support that has enabled the Nigerian Air Force to sustain its operations against the Boko Haram insurgents. The Air Force revealed on Wednesday, that Innoson ‘helped to locally modify and overhaul the brake assembly of the MB-339 aircraft for adoption on the Alpha Jets’ and also ‘helped...

Nigerian Army Busts Boko Haram Fuel, Ammunition Supply Chain

The Nigerian Army said it ambushed Boko Haram insurgents and killed a number of them while transporting fuel and various calibre of ammunition to their hideout. A statement by the spokesman of the Nigerian Army, Sani Usman, said the troops, while on operation at a cattle market on Wednesday morning, intercepted the insurgents and seized the supplies. “In continuation of their clearance operations of remnants of Boko Haram terrorists in the North East, troops of...

CPC Orders MTN To Pay N1.85m To Subscriber Within 14 Days

The Consumer Protection Council on Wednesday directed MTN Communications Limited to pay within 14 days the sum of N1.85m to one of the winners of its Ultimate Wonder Promo for lack of due diligence. The council’s order came on the heels of a complaint brought by Mr. Omeje Fidelis against the telecommunications company alleging that he had been underpaid after he was declared winner of N2m in the said sales promotion, which was held in 2012.

FG Moves To Secure List Of Properties Owned By Nigerians In Dubai

Few weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the federal government has revealed that efforts were in top gear to secure a list of Nigerians who owned choice properties in the country from proceeds of fraud.  Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, while briefing the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs during the budget defence of the ministry, said the Nigerian government was in talks with...

Troops Arrest Mastermind Of Agip Pipelines Bombing

Troops of the Joint Force in the Niger Delta, Operation Pulo Shield, say they have arrested the suspected mastermind of the bombing of pipelines belonging to Nigerian Agip Oil Company in Bayelsa State. Agip oil pipelines located in Orukari, Golubokiri and Kpongbokiri communities of Brass Local Government Area of the state had been bombed on January 28. The dynamite attacks on the pipelines had resulted in massive spillage of crude oil from the Agip pipelines...

Savings From Fuel Subsidy Removal Rises To N647m Daily

Nigeria, as at yesterday, is currently saving N647.2 million daily from the suspension of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit, also known as petrol. Particularly, at the current price of N86.50 per litre in petrol stations across the country, the country is making an extra N16.18 per litre. The Federal Government had stated that this extra savings is kept in an escrow account to serve as a cushion in case of eventuality, such as if the price...

Nigeria To Reward Best Performing Civil Servants, Sanction Under Performers

The Head of Service of the Federation Winifred Oyo-Ita, on Wednesday said government had resolved to reward best performing civil servants and sanction under-performing ones, with a view to ensuring effective service delivery. Mrs. Oyo-Ita said in a statement that the service would be enhanced to improve personnel structure and Performance Management System (PMS), with the introduction of reward for hard work as well as sanctions for poor performance. The head of service said the...

Imo State Recalls Suspended Workers To End Protests

The Imo State government has recalled workers it suspended in 19 parastatals in the state, ending the disagreement between the government and labour unions on the issue. The decision was reached on Wednesday after a meeting between the State government officials and some leaders of the labour unions. In an agreement signed after talks by the ‘Committee on Joint Government-Labour Negotiation in Imo State’, an immediate recall of all suspended workers of Imo State was recommended,...

INEC To Prosecute Under-age Voters

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said on Wednesday that it would prosecute under-age voters in Plateau.   Dr Godwin Kwanga, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of INEC in the state made this known in a Stakeholders’ Forum in Jos ahead of re-run elections in the state fixed for Feb. 20.   Kwanga said that the state was replete with underage voters in possession of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).   The stakeholders at the forum included representatives of security agencies, politicians, media and election monitoring...

Tunisia Makes $500 Million From Ousted President’s Assets

Tunisia has made nearly half a billion dollars from the sale of assets confiscated from ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his allies, a minister said Wednesday.   In the months following Ben Ali’s flight to Saudi Arabia after the January 2011 revolution that ended his rule, the cash-strapped country seized hundreds of businesses, properties, luxury cars and jewellery belonging to him, his family and his allies. “Since 2011, we made around 1.5 billion dinars (of which) around 1...

Abia Senatorial Rerun : APGA Candidate Writes Kalu On Peaceful Election

Chief David Onuoha-Bourdex, the APGA candidate in the Abia North Senatorial rerun has written to an opponent, Dr. Orji Kalu of Progressive People’s Alliance (PPA) on peaceful polls.   In the letter addressed to Kalu, a former governor of the state, Onuoha-Bourdex underscored the need for all parties to the rerun to play the game according to rules.   The letter dated Feb. 5 and copies made available to newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja, the APGA candidate said that the peace of the...

NUT Demands Immediate Payment Of Teachers

The Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) has urged state governments owing teachers’ salaries to pay immediately, to ensure industrial peace.   The union made the call in a statement signed by Mr Obong I.J. Obong, the NUT General Secretary, and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja.   It urged such state governments to be alive to their responsibilities and stop toying with the future of the Nigerian child.   "We call on these state governments to be alive...

Internet Users Reduced By 788,215 In December 2015 – NCC

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on Wednesday said that internet users on Nigeria's telecoms’ networks reduced by 788,215 in December 2015.   The telecoms’ regulatory body disclosed this in its Monthly Internet Subscriber Data obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.   The data revealed that users on both Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) and Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) networks stood at 97,182,014 as at December 2015.   According to NCC, this was in contrast to 97,970,229 internet subscribers recorded...

Forex Policy To Stabilise Capital Market – Financial Experts

Some financial experts on Wednesday in Lagos said that the Federal Government’s foreign exchange policy not to devalue the naira would stabilise the nation’s capital market at the long run.   They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the decision had reduced activities of speculators and capital flight at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).   They maintained that the forex policy stance had reduced activities of speculators in the form of portfolio investors in the market.   Alhaji Rasheed Yusuuf, the Managing Director,...

FG To Save N4.14bn On Travels Yearly Through Efficiency Unit

Mrs Kemi Adeosun, the Minister of Finance, on Wednesday said that government would save N4.14 billion from the Efficiency Unit on travels yearly with appropriate streamlining of the procurement process.   Adeosun made the disclosure at the Efficiency Unit’s media round table held in Lagos.   The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the minister was represented by Mrs Patience Oniha, Head of the Efficiency Unit.   She said that government would save N4.14 billion annually "if a price discount of five per cent...