On a global scale, agricultural tourism opens up new prospects for the sustainable development of agriculture and rural areas. Stakeholders believe that agrotourism can play an important role in reflecting national values and give visitors an opportunity to look at what agriculture really means for people and business. Informs DANIEL ESSIET.
The federal government has taken steps to create a more sustainable agricultural industry.
These include ensuring food security, creating high-quality products, improving post-harvest methods, investing in advanced processing enterprises, expanding marketing and information systems, protecting natural resources and continuing to reform institutions and policies as needed.
The government believes that stimulating agricultural growth will lead to poverty reduction.
However, according to experts, tourism and agriculture should be a priority in terms of government development.
One of them, the consultant of the British Department for International Development (DFID) Richard Ogundele, said that Nigeria can create new jobs, improving the sector of agriculture and tourism.
Ogundele said that agriculture should be at the forefront of creating foreign exchange, if the government is ready to maximize the use of monumental opportunities in the industry through agro-tourism.
He led the Songhai Center in Porto-Novo, Benin, used as an experimental farm, research center and for training in sustainable agriculture.
The center has significant water resources, favorable for the production of crops and fish on a large scale. The work of the center allows people to stay in touch with the realities of profitable agriculture and the environment.
With the abundance of natural resources, biological diversity and a strong cultural heritage, Ogundele, who is the Managing Director of JMSF Agribusiness, said that Nigeria has good opportunities for agro-tourism, saying that the use of land for agro tourism will help the government achieve a balance in tourism and agricultural development between urban and rural areas; in helping to reduce poverty.
Ogundele noted that agrotourism is associated with agricultural activities that attract visitors to a farm, ranch or any natural object.
He said that agritourism will provide visitors with the opportunity to enjoy home-made food and purchase fabrics, as well as other items. The experience gained during such expeditions, he stressed, would be an excellent tool for encouraging cultural exchange and transfer between visiting local tourists and residents of host communities.
To present the model to imitate the Nigerians, Ogundele said his organization creates a 50-acre farmer's resort within the federal metropolitan area (FCT), which will provide opportunities for both Nigerians and foreigners wishing to escape the hustle and bustle of city life to return to nature.
According to him, the resort offers various activities, including farm days and agricultural fairs.
The route for visitors will include excursions to the farms, where they will sit down for food with food, provided by various local farmers. He said that the emphasis will be on renewable energy sources.
He said his organization is ready to work with farmers to create farms that can attract ecotourists, especially those seeking a life leave that includes culture, nature, nature and learning.
He wants the agricultural and tourism sectors to come together to talk about opportunities and the government to support the discussion.
For the managing director of the Niji Group, Kolawole Adeniji, a successful agricultural tourism sector, will be a great benefit to the economy with the potential for farmers.
Thanks to agrotourism, tourists will have an opportunity to visit local farms and try traditional recipes.
Niji Farms is considered the largest farm in Nigeria, with an area of more than 4000 hectares of land in Ilero, Oyo.
He has corn, a plantain and a Yam farm, covering several acres of land with huge potential for expansion.
For him, there is a great demand for agricultural tourism, and this will be a missed opportunity, if Nigerians do not work together to build industry.
Adeniji is building an agrotourism resort in the state of Oyo. The project is an ecotourism site integrated with farm facilities to attract more tourists and help increase farmers' incomes. The dream is to provide Nigerians with peaceful and happy living among a farm full of trees, choose seasonal crops and vegetables and a variety of wild varieties of trees.
The resort has processing units throughout the farm. He provided storage, infrastructure and services.
The resort will be open to students to explore and interact with nature and cultures.