Agriculture is a potent sector to address the current economic recession and boost industrialisation, top management members of the Al-Hikmah University, Ilorin, have said.
They stated that the adoption of mechanised and commercialised agriculture would maximise the nation’s agricultural potential to earn foreign exchange from exports, produce raw materials for industries, stimulate commerce and economic recovery as well as create massive jobs.
Those who canvassed the view included, the Founder, Al-Hikmah University, Ilorin, Chief Abdul-Raheem Oladimeji; the Vice-Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Mohammed Ibrahim; and the Registrar, Mrs. Rasheedat Oladimeji.
Speaking during a media briefing in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital on Wednesday, they stated that the university had invested N80m in farming for the 2016/2017 session as one of its contributions to addressing the nation’s economic recession, stimulating industrialisation and achieving national food security.
Oladimeji said if agriculture was not taken seriously, there might be food crisis in the country. He noted that many developed countries adopted commercialised and mechanised agriculture to attain food security and industrialisation.
Ramat urged tertiary institutions in the country to embrace agriculture to achieve national food security as well as boost the institutions’ internally generated revenue.
Ibrahim said Nigerian government should leverage the nation’s limitless potential, especially in agriculture, to bring about a turnaround in the economy.
He noted that a nation that could not feed itself is a poor nation, adding that a nation that relies on importation of food items is also a precarious one.
He canvassed that all tiers of government should establish agricultural mechanisation support camps in-between specific areas of land coverage.
According to him, through such camps, farmers will have access to modern farm implements like clearing and grading caterpillars, planting machines and high-yield seedlings as well as other technical support by agriculture experts from universities, polytechnics and extension workers from the Ministry of Agriculture.
He stated that community organisation of agricultural cooperative societies was required.
Ibrahim said the strategies if adopted would lift a lot of rural people out of poverty and bring about massive development and rural-urban transformation.
He added that the intervention could transform every 40 kilometers of arable farm land space, which otherwise would have been left bare and uncultivated, into arable land, with the effect of assuring the nation of food self-sufficiency in a short time.
He said, “If adopted, this template will land us into desirable future of the needed forward and backward linkages between agriculture and industrial sector.
“We need to come up with practical workable strategies to bring the impact of our universities and polytechnic agricultural experts to bear in designing appropriate policy to address this challenge.”