Nigerians have been advised to see agriculture as a business and an avenue in realising the country’s full economic potential and not a vocation for the poor as erroneously perceived by the majority.
Mr Kofo Adegoke, President, Olaoluwaseni Joshua Adegoke Foundation (Oja-F), an NGO, gave this advice on Monday at the inauguration of the foundation in Abuja.
This has hindered the country from realising its full economic potential, Mr Kofo Adegoke has said.
According to him, Nigerians need to explore agriculture as a business and not just a way of life to maximize the potential in the sector.
“People should not just see agriculture as a way of life, or just a government programme, but a business that can generate great income and employment opportunities.
“The scourge of poverty in our land is unacceptable knowing full well that we can leverage on agriculture to create wealth,” he said.
According to him, while many gains have been made in reducing global poverty, nearly 50 percent of the people in the world still live below the poverty level.
“This is not a pretty picture at all and there is a clear disconnect between the nature of growth and the swelling number of poor people and this can only be balanced when we are engaged in agriculture,” he said.
Adegoke added that for Africans and Nigerians to succeed in lifting millions of people out of poverty and create a model of shared prosperity, the focus should be on transforming rural economies.
He said that this could be done by propagating the gospel of agricultural business “Agribiz”.
According to him, this is because every single farmer is a private sector person that only needs access to technology, training, finance, land, information, market and infrastructure.
Adegoke said this was, however, achievable through the creation of agricultural entrepreneurial skills development programmes.
He added that the OJA foundation was set to partner with both Federal and State governments, national and international agencies, and NGOs to improve agriculture in Nigeria.
The Guest Speaker, Mr Kola Adegoke reiterated that Agriculture was not for the downtrodden but for intellectuals because it took knowledge to explore the gains of agriculture.
He commended the Former Minister of Agriculture, Dr Akinwumi Adesina for educating youths and Nigerians on the many benefits of agriculture as the way forward.
“Now we see graduates, master degree holders getting into the agriculture sector and making great gains.
“We also see them serving as employers of labour as well as reducing poverty at the grassroots,” Adegoke said.
He said that the Foundation seeks to promote human well-being through strategic interventions in the areas of healthcare services and agricultural entrepreneurial skills development in rural communities.