Various calls by the Government on the need for Nigerian youths to take to agriculture might go unheeded if the necessary information on how to access land and finance are not readily available.
This was the position of the Assistant Pastor in charge of Lagos Province 48 of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Bamidele Olurin, at a one day seminar organised by the church in collaboration with Excel Multi purpose cooperative society in Lagos recently.
He said the call by government to have the youths and Nigerians take up agriculture as business is laudable but there is more to be done. “Government is saying go into agriculture without giving information to the people. You don’t just ask people to go into agriculture without information. “He added that government has data and information on land, finance and markets, which the youths are not aware of.
Pastor Olurin said the various Ministries of Agriculture should not be for window dressing as they should move away from office to the fields. “Agriculture is not an office thing, but practical. There are lots of donors but no information. “While noting that farmers need information on inputs, market both domestic and foreign , Olurin decried the dearth of farm settlements and extension services.
“We used to have farm settlements through which government engaged and get lots of information to farmers, but these settlements are no longer there.” He added that there used to be different agencies in agriculture taking information to the farmers, but today are just like any other government’s agency.
He used the event to also appeal to the banks to support the agricultural sector as he noted that most banks in the country are just paying lip service to issue of agriculture, despite having desks to cater for the sector. Speaking on why the church organised the seminar with the theme ‘ Agriculture :the next and viable alternative to sustainable economic growth ‘, Pastor Olurin said they realised that the country is where it is today because agriculture was neglected. “So, as a faith-based organization, we see this as Community Social Responsibility as to provide information to people on agriculture..
“We felt putting this together will go a long way to help in providing information on the various aspects of agriculture and what you need to thrive.” He said he was impressed with the turn out and the quality of the speakers, who took the participants on livestock, crops, beekeeping, poultry, grass cutter rearing and snail rearing.