EMBRACING AGRICULTURE FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND SUSTAINABILITY
Nigeria’s current economic woes which according to economic analyst is as a result of the dwindling oil prices around the world is a clear indicator of the urgent need for the Government to further embrace agriculture and infrastructure to fast track the countries social development. Agriculture which at a time use to be the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy was adversely neglected, bastardized and left in a wretched and pitiable state of deterioration and relapse after the oil boom of the 1970s. As oil profitability was beginning to look very great, Nigerians slowly moved from subsistence agriculture to private enterprises leaving agriculture to a business for the poor and less privileged. Oil today is no longer what it used to be and the once backbone for the nation’s economy has finally lost his spine leading to decline in revenues, free fall of GDP growth, exchange rate volatility, Debt spiking and even loss of jobs. Like the usual saying, There is a blessing in every disappointment and its not entirely a doom status yet for Nigeria as the economic situation and Naira depreciation has opened golden opportunities for domestic cultivation and processing of agricultural commodities, well of course the price of imported goods has tripled and citizens haven been forced to retrace back their once abandoned roots and look to local alternatives for agriculture commodity.
The current administration of President Buhari however has shown deliberate efforts in its plans to salvage and diversify the economy by bringing on a new outlook towards agriculture production. Food imports in Nigeria is currently standing at a roaring 35billion excess every year and even expected to rise to 110 billion dollars in 2025 if we don’t start developing our Agriculture industry, according to AFDB president who is a former Minister of Agriculture, Prof Femi Adesina. There is no doubt about the untapped potentials of Agriculture to return Nigeria back to the Giant of Africa status it possessed a while back but if we are going to achieve this anytime soon, we need to start making Agriculture look interesting to the citizens, There is an obvious mentality among the youths presently that Agriculture is a poor man’s business and majority of today’s youth will rather travel abroad in search of greener pastures than settle for Agriculture in Nigeria. Agriculture has to be positioned as a smart and eye catching boulevard of employment and good living for the youths. Many youths in Nigeria have already identified and still identifying the power of agriculture to create wealth and they are already taking the opportunities that abound in the land using innovative technologies and other integrated strategies in the field of farming but a lot still need to be done to ensure that people’s eyes are opened to this wasting opportunities in Agriculture.
The future of the nation is bright and it can only be brighter when we shift away attention from Oil and embrace Agriculture as a powerful means of socio-economic development.