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

Actress Mercy Johnson heavily pregnant with baby number 3 (photos)

Nollywood actress Mercy Johnson Okojie who recently turned a year older has shared photos from her birthday celebration on her Instagram page which revealed she's expecting baby number 3.   The beautiful mother of 2 who got married to her husband, Prince Okojie, in 2011 has since kept a low profile.   Below are photos from her birthday celebrated with her family...

Amaechi denies criticizing Buhari over appointments, arrives Port Harcourt

Former governor of Rivers state, Chibuike Amaechi has debunked rumours that he flew to London on Friday in anger because he was not offered an appointment in any key position recently announced by President Buhari.   The former Governor Amaechi who arrived Port Harcourt, Rivers state capital on Saturday to attend the opening of St. Vincent Due Paul Catholic Church, Elechi beach Port Harcourt, was received at the airport by Dakuku Peterside, the governorship candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) and...

Ogunsanya Tosin: Welcome Into The Nigerian School Of Public Governance

A welcome speech by the institute head… Listen up everybody, we welcome you all to NSPG, a place where we transform individuals to leaders primarily in the public sector. You are left with only one option and that option is to learn. More specifically, NSPG covers all aspects of governance in domestic and global organizations, from risk assessment to policy analysis, disregarding societal status to whoever jettison the rule of law, design and evaluation.

#DeltaTribunal: Lack of Proper Certification of Election Results by INEC Threatens to Render Evidence Inadmissible

?The Delta State election tribunal proceeded with a hearing on Friday, 28th August. The counsel to the petitioner (Emerhor/APC), Chief Okpoko (SAN), drew the attention of the tribunal to the failure of INEC to properly certify results from polling units in 24 LGAs. He noted that certification is to be done by an authorized scripted signature rather than an unscripted signature, and further stated that INEC, being an electoral body, should be an unbiased umpire instead of...

Kylie Jenner Allegedly Paid Tyga’s Rent

Tyga made headlines last month when he allegedly had his girlfriend Kylie Jenner lend him cash and by cash we mean $50,000 to pay off rent on his Calabasas, Calif. mansion. The 25-year-old was pictured on Thursday leaving a bank, openly holding a stiff looking stack of dolla billz! We can clearly see a Ben Franklin at the top of the stack, an can only assume there is more where that came from! Read...

OPC Opens Up On Buhari’s Appointments

Reacting to Buhari's appointments on Thursday, founder, Oodua Peoples Congress,OPC, Dr Fredrick Fasehun has implored Ni­gerians not only to be vigilant but also get prepared for a long battle ahead. According to him, Buhari through the appointments has shown himself to be insensitive to the feelings of oth­er ethnic groups across the country. ‘’What Buhari has done is evil. Through his actions since his inau­guration, he has been pandering to­wards the interests of a particular...

Senate Begins Probe Of Power Sector

The stage appeared set for a comprehensive probe of the nation’s power sector as the Senate declared on Friday that officials of the Federal Ministry of Power, its departments and agencies and other key players within the sector would soon appear before it. The Chairman, Senate Ad-hoc Committee on Power, Senator Abubakar Kyari, stated this when the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, inaugurated the 14-member fact-finding panel at the National Assembly Complex. Kyari said stakeholders in...

Seven Die As Nigerian Air Force Aircraft Crashes

Seven people have been killed after an aircraft belonging to the Nigerian Air Force crashed at the old site of the Nigerian Defence Academy Kaduna , Northwest Nigeria. The casualties include all four crew members and three passengers. The victims were travelling from the Nigerian Air Force Base in Kaduna en route Abuja. Emergency officials say the helicopter crashed less than ten minutes after taking off. Read More: channelstv

Appointments Will Be Balanced By September, Buhari Defends Appointments

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday defended the appointment of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir David Lawal and five others. The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, yesterday assured Nigerians that President Muhammadu Buhari’s political appointments will balance out soon. Adesina spoke on a radio programme, Political Platform, on RayPower 100.5FM. Adesina said the President was aware of federal character and expressed the belief that...

BUSTED! Boko Haram Planned To Bomb Nnamdi Azikiwe Int’l Airport

A plot by Boko Haram terrorists to bomb the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport was uncovered last Monday by the Department of State Service, DSS. The DSS made this known on Saturday in a statement by an official, Tony Opuiyo in which he said a fourteen year old boy,  Sulaiymon Abdulraman (a.k.a Sunday AJAYI), of Kogi State was apprehended inside the airport. On interrogation, Abdulraman allegedly disclosed that he infiltrated the airport with the assistance of...

Buhari’s Appointments “Totally Unacceptable To Ndigbo”- Igbo Youths

The Ohaneze Youth Council (OYC), on Friday, condemned President Muhammadu Buhari’s latest appointment for the positions of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the Chief of Staff to the President and others. Okechukwu Isiguzoro, the president of the group, said in a statement he jointly signed with the OYC’s spokesperson, Obinna Adibe, said the appointments were “totally unacceptable to Ndigbo”, arguing that they violated the principle of federal character as enshrined in the Nigerian...

Jonathan’s Bodyguards Posted Out Of Villa

Department of State Services personnel who served as bodyguards to President Goodluck Jonathan have been posted out of the Villa to various state commands. Competent sources at the Presidential Villa said that the signal for the posting of the over 150 bodyguards who had remained redundant following the directive by the ADC to President Buhari that they should leave the presidential villa came yesterday. “Almost all of our personnel who were bodyguards in the villa...

Lagos-Based Journalist Arrested In Cameroon, Accused Of Spying For Boko Haram

A Lagos-based Cameroonian journalist, Simon Ateba, has been arrested by Cameroonian authorities as he investigated the conditions of Nigerian refugees camped in the country’s far north. The journalist, who managed to leave a messages on his Facebook page before he was locked up Friday, said he was arrested for venturing, without permission, into a refugee camp with 50,000 Nigerians. He later told a colleague that the authorities were threatening to charge him for espionage –...

Buhari Orders CBN To Pay Amnesty Beneficiaries

President Muhammadu Buhari, has directed Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria  (CBN), Godwin Emefiele to ensure the outstanding tuition, stipends and allowances of all amnesty beneficiaries were paid without further delay. This is as the European Union (EU) has strengthened its partnership with the  Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, under which the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) is domiciled, to seek ways of ensuring that the programmes meets up with...

Garba Shehu: Understanding Buhari in 100 Days

The enormously popular talk show, ‘Berekete’ on Wazobia FM, Abuja, told the incredible-yet-true story of a hard-working and respected school teacher somewhere in Plateau State who hanged himself. He hadn’t been paid salary for seven straight months. He came home to find that no-one had eaten and two of the children had medical prescriptions for which there was no money. He sneaked out without talking to anyone. After a long while, news came home that he had...

Obasanjo, a liar, economic illiterate – Soyinka

Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has described former president Olusegun Obasanjo as a pathological liar, adding that he has lost total respect for him. Soyinka said this on Friday night when he was responding to questions during a programme tagged: ‘An evening with Wole Soyinka’, organised by Globacom.

Praiz, 9ice, Pasuma And Others Set For Battle At The Celebrity Fans Challenge Tomorrow !

The biggest and most exciting celebrity football party is back  !Kiibati Bankole presents another exciting edition of her novel celebrity football contest- Celebrity Fans Challenge; and this time around, it is bigger than ever, as some of Nigeria's biggest names in entertainment go head to head for bragging rights and the title of Nigeria's biggest celebrity SUPERFAN!The celebrities include 9ice, fuji ace- Pasuma, Reminisce, Praiz, Gbenga Adeyinka(GCON), Illbliss, Nollywood stars Segun Arinze and Fred Amata; and representing the ladies- Simi (Jamb...

Troops Kill Boko Haram Members Dressed In Nigerian Military Uniform

Boko Haram members dressed in Nigerian military uniform were killed during a raid of the sect members camp in the North East. See the photos after the cut...be warned it's graphic!

#Pausibility: Gehazi, Vuvuzela-General And The Lesson For The New Generation By Adebayo Coker.

The diverse reactions that were triggered by the recent appointments of the President are funnily incredulous. Very soon we will hear Dauralization or Patriarchization. We voted PMB to deliver to us chenji then we complain when he selected his team. PMB has chosen the people he wants to work with; I hope when playtime comes he will consider some of us. September is a month to look forward to. My...

Chad Sentences 10 Boko Haram Members To Death

Chad has sentenced 10 members of Nigeria-based Islamist militant group Boko Haram to death on terrorism charges, judicial sources said on Friday. "They are all sentenced to death," said one of the sources. Chad's capital N'Djamena, less than 100 kilometres from the Nigerian border, was hit by a series of suicide bombings in June and July that killed more than 40 people. Source: Trust.org

Fayose Appoints 72-yr Old Carpenter As Council Boss

Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State Friday appointed a 72-year old Carpenter and illiterate, Mr Olatunde Afolayan as the caretaker chairman of Moba Local Government. Fayose, also sworn in members of the State Independent Electoral Commission, headed by a retired Chief Judge of the State, Justice Kayode Bamisile , to be able to conduct local government elections before the end of the year. After administering the oaths on the appointees, Fayose told President Muhammadu Buhari to remove Mrs Amina...