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

  • 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

Buhari Welcomes $5bn Investment From India

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday welcomed the proposed five billion dollars investment in Nigeria by visiting Indian business delegation, led by Indian Vice-President Hamid Ansari. According to a statement issued by Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, the President made the remark when he received Ansari at the State House, Abuja. Shehu quoted Buhari as saying “India has already invested 10 billion dollars in the Nigerian economy. “Nigeria will...

Former Nigerian Naval Chief Arraigned For Alleged Corruption

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Tuesday arraigned a former Chief of Naval Staff, Usman Jibrin, before a court in Abuja on corruption charges. Mr. Jibrin, a retired vice admiral, was arraigned alongside two others: Bala Mshelia and Shehu Ahmadu, both retired rear admirals. They were arraigned before Justice A. Umar of the FCT High Court in Maitama, Abuja on a 4-count charge of criminal conspiracy. They were docked alongside Habour Bay...

Lagos CJ Frees 20 Inmates

The Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Oluwafunmilayo Atilade, on Tuesday granted amnesty to 20 inmates at the Ikoyi Prisons in Lagos.   The CJ freed the inmates during her visit to the prison as part of the activities marking the commencement of the 2016/2017 legal year.   The 20 freed inmates had been in custody, awaiting trial for between a period of nine months and four years.   Atilade said...

You Need To Watch This Dance Battle Between Trump & Clinton

Seems like the US presidential debate extended to a dance battle between Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton. Well not the real duo, but the dancers represented each candidate by wearing their masks. Watch dance battle video below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKtxJ85h7P8  

Anambra State Police Declares Ex-419 Kingpin Chief Emmanuel Nwude (Owelle Abagana) wanted

Anambra State Police Command has declared wanted, Chief Emmanuel Nwude, (Owelle Abagana) over involvement in a case of conspiracy, malicious damage, murder, act of terrorism and attack on policemen. Chief Nwude, from Umudunu, Abagana is a convicted Advance-Fee fraudster. He and his accomplices were in 2005 convicted by a federal high court for pulling the biggest 419 fraud in history.   Before his conviction, Nwude was the biggest shareholder in Union Bank...

Nigerian Doctor Who Asked Patient ‘Do You Like Big Ones Or Small Ones?’ Is Suspended In Canada

A tribunal has found Dr. Adekunle Williams Owolabi guilty of all four professional misconduct complaints lodged against him and suspended his licence to practise for six months. The decision was given Monday in St. John's, at the professional misconduct hearing against Owolabi conducted by a tribunal panel established by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Newfoundland and Labrador. At an earlier hearing, Labrador teacher Arlene Johnson testified that when she visited Owolabi for a pelvic exam he made...

Lil Wayne Officiated Same-Sex Wedding While In Jail

In Gone ’Til November, which covers his stint in New York’s Rikers Island , the rapper says that the union was toasted with 13 bottles of Gatorade  

Court Freezes all Imo State Government Accounts

The Court of Appeal sitting in Owerri, has ordered the freezing of all the accounts of Imo State Government and the confiscation of all monies domiciled in them. The court gave the order while delivering judgement on an appeal filed by the Governor of the state Rochas Okorocha, the Attorney General of Imo State, the Environmental Transformation Committee and the Ministry of Petroleum and Environment, Imo State. The state government had approached the court to upturn...

Senate Rejects Sale Of National Assets To Revive Economy

The Nigerian Senate has rejected the proposed sale of national asset by the federal government. The Senate took the decision on Tuesday at the resumed plenary after extensive deliberation. The Buhari administration has proposed the sell some asset to revive the economy. But many Nigerians are opposed to the plan, arguing that previous sales barely helped the nation’s economy. The government has suggested that if it eventually adopts the policy, it would insist on a re-purchase

Tinubu’s Allegations Not True – Odigie-Oyegun

The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has said he will not take issue with the National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. He, however, said “most” of the allegations in the media report were “not true,” noting that the party would focus on the September 28 governorship election in Edo State, which he said was his “priority”. Odigie-Oyegun said this on Monday in Benin in response to the call...

The Jewel In The North, Celebrating #ZamfaraAt20 – Ahmad Abdul Kareem

As Nigerians all over the world celebrated 36 years of Nigeria’s independence from colonial rule on October 1 1960, a different kind of celebration was going on in newly created Zamfara State. In an early nationwide broadcast on that memorable then, the then Head of State and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, Late General Sani Abacha announced the creation of Zamfara State out of the old Sokoto State. The celebration and jubilation in Zamfara on that day was...

Man Sentenced To 30 Months In Jail Over Stolen Slippers

A Kano Senior Magistrates’ Court sitting in Rijiyar Zaki on Monday sentenced, Rabiu Sani, 22, to 30 months imprisonment for theft of slippers. The Senior Magistrate, Aminu Fagge, sentenced Sani to two years and six months after he pleaded guilty to a one-count charge. Fagge did not give the convict of Aisami Quarters in Kano an option of fine. Prosecutor Yusuf Sale had told the court that Surajo Umar of Kurna Quarters, Kano, reported the case to Nasarawa Police Division, Kano,...

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s Prenup Details Revealed; Custody Battle May Get Messy

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie signed an ‘ironclad’ prenup before tying the knot in 2014. Its details have just been revealed as well as the fact that the real battle between Brad and Angelina will be over the custody of their children. According to TMZ, Brad and Jolie signed a prenuptial agreement that outlines exactly who gets what before they wed back in 2014. Their combined fortune is a reported $400 million. Brad & Jolie have 12 total properties together...

Donald Trump keeps Sniffling During Presidential Debate and the Internet Wants to Know Why

Republican party candidate Donald Trump who recently raised questions about Hillary Clinton’s health, claiming she had no stamina, appeared to be sniffling during the U.S presidential debate on Monday night—and social media users took notice. Clinton was diagnosed with pneumonia earlier this month and her campaign team has constantly refuted claims by Donald Trump that she is not medically fit to be president, so Twitter users reacted when they saw Trump sniffling repeatedly....

ISIS Monsters Executes Six Members who Fled Battle by Crushing them With BULLDOZER

There is no limit to ISIS barbarity as the monsters crushed six of its own members to death with a bulldozer after accusing them of running from a battle. The men, who were killed on Monday according to local reports, fled the town of Sharqat in northern Iraq. According to Iraqi News, civilians were forced to watch the barbaric execution. The strategic town outside Mosul fell to Government forces, who have launched a major campaign to retake the northern...

16-year-old Boy Survives After Jumping From a 23rd Storey Building to Impress a Girl

A 16-year-old lovestruck Russian boy, Alexander Shadrin, miraculously survived after plummeting from a 23rd storey balcony while trying to impress a girl. The teenager fell 23 floors from a high rise balcony after a macho stunt to 'impress a girl', but survived after landing on the roof of a parked Renault taxi, and was conscious when paramedics arrived. The Russian teenager had climbed over the railing of the balcony at his home...

Nollywood Actor Kalu Ikeagwu Reportedly Arrested Over a Theft Case

Contrary to reports that Nollywood actor Kalu Ikeagwu was abducted by gunmen in front of the gate of his house in Ogba area of Lagos around yesterday afternoon, he was allegedly arrested by security agents following a robbery and homicide case. According to Encomium Magazine, the newly married actor was arrested by security agents, in front of his house in Ogba area of Lagos around 3:40pm, yesterday, following a robbery and homicide case. He explained to his...

OPC Tortures Pastor Over Wife’s Death In Ogun

A pastor with the Christ Apostolic Church, Onigbogbo, Atan Ota, Ogun State, Pastor Olusegun Omoniyi, is critically ill after he was allegedly abducted and tortured by some members of the Oodua People’s Congress. It was learnt that 45-year-old Omoniyi had also gone into hiding after he was rescued by policemen from the Sango Area Command. He said he feared for his life as the OPC members had threatened to recapture and kill him. Punch Metro learnt that the OPC members were...

Vandalisation Of Pipelines Has Made Nigeria Lose 3000mw Of Electricity – Fashola

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, has attributed a colossal loss of 3000 megawatts in the last six months (between April and September) to consistent vandalisation and sabotage of the country’s pipelines and assets. Fashola who gave this disclosure at the Wilson Centre, Washington DC, USA on the sidelines of the just concluded United Nation’s meeting, said, “over 3000 megawatt of power had been lost over the last six months due to consistent vandalism and sabotage...

Selling National Assets Will Be A Historic Mistake – Soludo

The federal government will be repeating mistakes of the past should it sell some of the nation’s assets as has been proposed in some quarters, Chukwuma Soludo, former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has said. Asset sale has recently emerged as one of the strategies for Nigeria’s quick exit from its current economic recession, and notable public figures have argued for and against it. Writing on the subject on Monday, Soludo said he initially labelled the asset...

17-Year Old Teen Kills Himself Moments After Accidentally Shooting Dead His Friend

A Labor Day with friends turned into a devastating tragedy for four high school students when one accidentally shot another, and then killed himself out of despair. Marsavious 'Savie' Frazier was showing Daquarion Hunter, both 17, a gun as they sat by side in an alley behind their friend's home in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The gun accidentally went off and struck Hunter in the chest, causing him to drop to the ground. Frazier immediately panicked and ran, putting the gun to his...