Over the years, citizens of Nigeria have been fazed with several economic hardships, of which some are as a result of certain factors responsible for the neglect of the once blossoming agric sector, which was evident during the 1st Republic governed by regions with healthy competitions.
However, some of these challenges are as a result of unemployment, urban migration, excessive dependence on oil and poor living standard of Nigerians have been listed as factors responsible for the neglect of agric sector.
Another critical challenge was disclosed by Prince Wale Oyekoya, CEO/Managing Director of Bama Farms, who also identified unavailability of timely and affordable credit for farmers, as one factor that is responsible for making citizens lose interest in practicing farming as a profession.
“In my view, one of the most serious problems of food and agriculture in Nigeria is leadership. Food and agricultural industrialisation and privatisation are supposed to eradicate global hunger and poverty, but the reverse is the case in Nigeria.
“Our commercial banks need to be restructured and mandated to fund real farmers and not political farmers. To ensure that the policies succeed, government needs to ensure adequate budgetary allocation of at least 10 per cent of the nation’s budget; review subsisting schemes and reforms to make them more supportive of farm output. No farmer can survive under the current commercial interest rate of over 26 per cent,” he said.
“States should encourage cottage industries in the senatorial districts to process our farm produce, where the youth can participate in the value chain, marketing, distribution and export. Storage facilities and electricity in these industrial hubs is a necessity.
Subsequently, Oyekoya further stressed on the need for the state and local governments to complement Federal Government’s efforts by developing agriculture in all their senatorial districts. He believes that the synergy between all sects of the government could be achieved by releasing land for farming, providing tractors to clear the land, plant, and apply herbicides and insecticide and for harvesting in form mechanised farming, as this inturn could bring about a massive change within a short space of time.