By: Oye Agunbiade
The slow pace of diversification of the Nigerian economy from oil to Agriculture has been blamed on poor orientation on the part of government and lack of interest of the teeming unemployed in Agriculture.
The Chairman, Abis Farm, Akure North, Ondo state Nigeria, High chief Abiodun Adejo made this known while delivering a lecture at a 4 day Ondo state Generic training for the newly engaged Pro-farmers and Agro-preneurs held at the Federal College of Agriculture (FECA), Akure.
In his lecture titled “Who is a farmer and challenges of farming” Chief Adejo charged government to go beyond making policy statements to addressing the orientation of Nigerians especially the army of unemployed graduates about farming.
Explaining that Agriculture had metamorphosed from crude to mechanized cultivation, Chief Adejo said the people needed to be exposed to these technological advancement and business opportunities latent in the value chain of Agriculture. He appraised the Ondo state government for the generic training organised for the Agro-preneurs but described the initiative as a starting point adding that exposing the youths to viable funding windows, provision of land and Agric extension services were part of the confidence building steps needed for Agricultural revolution.
He maintained that the imperative of extension services cannot be overstressed as “some people venture into farming but got fed up when challenges come up”. He noted that the extension service workers in this wise would provide adequate advice and right input to encourage and spur the farmers.
On challenges posed by herdsmen to farming, Chief Adejo enjoined the government to urgently address the menace as no right thinking being would invest in a project bound to be destroyed by those he described as being above the laws.
Chief Adejo who also identified instability of market price as another daunting factor to the youths wanted government to put up a legislation that will make farm produce to have value and be consistent by stabilizing the market. According to him “ a situation whereby you take a produce to market today, sold it at 30 naira, next tomorrow its now 20 naira is discouraging and makes farmers blame themselves and at times horde their produce”. Adejo said.
Describing an ideal 21st century farmer as a focused and patient person, Chief Adejo encouraged the newly engaged farmers to be passion driven. Harping on the infinite business possibilities in Agriculture, Chief Adejo said like any other business, Agri-business venture is also risk oriented but leaning on the shoulders of experienced farmers and attending training would soon make them forget about running after white collar jobs.