Driving an Agricultural Revolution in attaining Continuous Relevance.

Report
DRIVING AN AGRICULTURAL
REVOLUTION IN ATTAINING
CONTINUOUS RELEVANCE
BY
PROFESSOR E .O. OYAWOYE
DEPUTY VICE-CHANCELLOR
LANDMARK UNIVERSITY ,OMU ARAN, KWARA STATE.
Being Paper Presented during the 2014 Faculty Advance Programme for all
Faculty/Staff of Landmark University, Omu-Aran, Kwara State held from 18th20th November, 2014.
AGRICULTURE:
THE FIRST AND
FOREMOST
GOD-GIVEN
PROFESSION
GEN. 2: 15
SUMMARY
Agriculture used to be the mainstay of the
Nigerian economy contributing a high percentage
to the Gross Domestic Product(GDP) as well as
being a high foreign exchange earner for the
country. However, the discovery of oil (Petroleum)
in Nigeria in the early 1960s brought about a
major decline in our agricultural production. The
oil boom led to agricultural doom with all the
attendant consequences for Nigeria. No country
can develop economically without a strong
agricultural base and Nigeria cannot be an
exception.
The strength of the United States economy is
based on agriculture and America can feed the
whole world and America is now using
agriculture as a weapon for political control of
the whole world. This paper examined the
challenges facing agriculture in Nigeria and
made suggestions for stimulating agricultural
revolution which will ultimately lead to
industrial revolution and relevance of Nigeria in
the global economy and world politics..
A nation that can not feed itself is at
the risk of being enslaved by other
nations. The paper concluded that it is
not too late for Nigeria to go back to
the land but the government and the
private
sector
represented
by
Landmark University have major roles
to play to bring about agricultural
revolution. Agricultural revolution is
also important in our desire to achieve
our vision 20,2020
INTRODUCTION
Agricultural Science has become a very
important subject at all levels in the education
of tropical people.
This is because the economies and lives of the
people who live in the tropics are largely based
on agriculture. The provision of adequate food
of the right quantity and quality for its people is
the ultimate goal of the government of every
country. However, the rapid increase in the
human population of these developing countries
tend to limit the impact of the efforts of
increased food and fibre production.
Through agriculture, a country can
harness natural
resources on land, in the forests,
in the rivers, streams, lakes and
the sea to provide all the people's
needs and to promote national
development.
WHAT IS AGRICULTURE?
Agriculture can be regarded as purposeful work through which
the elements in nature are harnessed to produce plants and
animals to meet human needs such as food, feed, fibre and fuel.
It is a biological production process which depends on the
growth and development of
selected plants and animals within the local environment.
Agriculture is therefore a renewable natural resource compared
to petroleum which is a depletable natural resource. Agriculture
should be seen as an occupation or profession from which to
derive a livelihood. Agriculture is also an industry or business
employing knowledge of the various sciences for the production
of food, fibre and fuel.
It is important therefore, that a deliberate effort is made to
develop and revolutionize agriculture. The results of
scientific research must be brought to bear upon the
performance of peasant agriculture in many developing
countries in order to increase agricultural productivity.
One of the major problems facing developing countries in
the tropics is the production of sufficient food, fibre, and
shelter for their large population. The greatest challenge
which faces developing countries today is to eliminate
hunger and to overcome poverty. Food production therefore
is very important in the economies of tropical developing
countries and agriculture provides the means to increase
food and fibre production.
SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF
THE NIGERIAN AGRICULTURAL SYSTEM
About 70% of the Nigerian population are engaged in
agriculture and the rural economy is based on
agriculture.
Agriculture is largely based on hoe and cutlass
technology and mainly based on human labour.
Agriculture in Nigeria is very laborious and it is not
appealing to the youths that represent the future of
the country. Many universities are facing declining
enrollment in the field of agriculture.
Agriculture is on a very small scale with the average
peasant farmer having less than 2 hectares of land.
Low input and application of modern scientific
knowledge in the field of Agriculture.
Low level of investments in various aspects of
agricultural production.
The people involved in Agriculture are aging
and the youths are not willing to replace them.
The youths prefer to work in the banks or take
other white collar jobs.
Government has not provided enough enabling
environment to boost agricultural production.
High costs and non-availability of agricultural
inputs such as fertilizer, herbicide, insecticide,
feed ingredients and other agrochemicals.
FUNCTIONS THAT AGRICULTURE MUST
PERFORM TO BE RELEVANT TO THE
ECONOMY
•Food Production:
A serious country must produce abundant food to feed her citizens
and should be able to export the excess to other countries. People
must have food of high quality and adequate quantity to improve
and maintain their health and nutritional well being. Food is a
paramount human need and we must be able to achieve food
security.
•Provision of Jobs and Employment
Increasing demand for agricultural products results in an increase in
the level of agricultural activity. This means that many more people
will become employed in the agricultural industry as farmers, crop
processors, traders, middlemen and transporters. Agriculture
provides employment especially in the rural areas.
•Provision of raw materials for local agro-based industries.
Many industrial raw materials are agricultural products. Vegetable
oils, rubber, textile, canning and soap manufacturing industries use
agricultural products as raw materials.
•Source of foreign exchange for the country.
Before the advent of oil, the bulk of the foreign exchange earnings for Nigeria
was coming from cash crops like Cocoa, Palm produce, groundnut, rubber and
cotton as well as animal products like hide s and skin.
•Source of income to farming families:
Increased agricultural production can generate income to the farming families
through the sale of their agricultural produce in the market.
Agriculture is a veritable tool for poverty alleviation in the rural areas
because crop and animal products can be sold in the market for money.
•Development of Educational and Training Institutions:
Many Agricultural educational institutions have been established to educate
and train people in the science of agriculture. The federal and state
governments as well as the private sector have been involved and the
establishment of Landmark University is a private initiative in Agricultural
revolution. Young people will receive formal education and a training which
provides them with a career.
STRATEGIES FOR ACHIEVING
AGRICULTURAL REVOLUTION IN NIGERIA
It is sad to note that after fifty-four years of independence,
Nigeria cannot feed her citizens and cannot produce enough raw
materials for the local agro-based industries. We cannot
continue to practice peasant agricultural system and there must
be a radical change from the past practices. We must therefore
break new grounds if we are to achieve agricultural revolution in
Nigeria. There must be a synergy between the government and
the private sector in stimulating agricultural revolution. Both the
government and the private sector have major roles to play to
make agriculture relevant to our economy. The government
should concentrate on providing enabling environment for
agricultural development while the private sector should embark
on large scale mechanized farming practices. Government should
not be involved in direct production since it is not an efficient
producer of goods and services.
Direct agricultural production should be left in the
hands of private individuals who want to invest in
large scale mechanized agriculture as professional
farmers and businessmen.
The role of the government in providing enabling
environment for agricultural
revolution is very crucial and it is a prerequisite for
agricultural development.
THE ROLE OF THE GOVERNMENT
•The land tenure system must be altered in such a way as to make large
expanse of land available to individuals that want to go into large scale
mechanized farming.
•Proper funding and performance of various agencies of government dealing
with agriculture. Such agencies include :
NCAM- National Centre for Agricultural Mechanization
ARMTI- Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute
CRIN- Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria
NAPRI- National Animal Production Research Institute
IAR- Institute for Agricultural Research
NCRI- National Cereals Research Institute
NIHORT- National Institute for Horticultural Research
NSPRI- Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute
FIIRO- Federal Institute for Industrial Research, Oshodi
These government agencies through their research activities can boost
agricultural productivity and hence farm income. Farming will therefore
become attractive to our youths that represent the Future Farmers of Nigeria
•The government must lay emphasis on large scale
mechanized agriculture so that agriculture can become an
attractive profession for our youths. It is the laborious nature
of peasant agriculture that is driving away the youths.
Agriculture must be modernized to attract the youths to the
profession .
•Construction of a network of rural and urban roads to
facilitate the supply of agricultural inputs and the removal of
agricultural output to the market.
•Adequate supply of potable water and water for irrigation
purposes. The river basin authorities must be well funded
and managed to perform their role in agricultural production.
•Regular Energy Supply in terms of Electricity and
Petroleum Products. Farm machinery requires
petroleum products for operation.
•Completion and proper management of the Ajaokuta
Steel Mill. Iron and Steel represent the backbone for
industrial revolution. Production of farm machinery for
agricultural mechanization will require Iron and Steel.
•Then government must provide agricultural finance at
low interest rate. This will encourage farmers to invest
and increase their scale of production thereby boosting
agricultural production and farm income
•The government must make available agricultural
inputs such as fertilizer, herbicides, agrochemicals, improved seeds at affordable prices.
•The government must create and manage properly
Agricultural Commodity Marketing Boards for price
stability of agricultural products.
•Re-introduction of the Farm Settlement Scheme in
all the States of the federation to attract youths
into Agricultural profession.
•Award of Federal and State Scholarships to
students intending to study agriculture in the
Nigerian University System.
THE ROLE OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR
Private individuals should take advantage of the enabling
environment created by the government to go into large
scale mechanized agriculture.
Agriculture is a profession as well as a business and the
generation of income from agriculture will attract our youths
into the profession.
The absence of active private sector participation in large
scale agricultural production may be the missing link in our
desire to achieve agricultural revolution. The youths in
Nigeria must be attracted into the profession through the
modernization of the agricultural production system.
The vision of the Chancellor, Dr. David Oyedepo in
establishing Landmark University is to
demonstrate that private individuals can initiate
agricultural revolution through the training of
youths in modern agricultural practices who will
become future professional farmers and
businessmen making a living and creating jobs in
the field of agriculture.
The crop of graduates of Landmark University will
become Future Farmers of Nigeria(FFN) and
Agropreneurs.
Landmark University is focusing on the
youths because the youths are vibrant,
energetic, resourceful, innovative and
creative and represent the future of the
country. The strategies being used by
Landmark University to bring about
agricultural revolution include the following
1. Establishment of Farm Practice as a
course for all Students of
Landmark
University to inculcate the farming culture
and the dignity of labour.
2.Intensive application of modern science and
technology in the agricultural production
process.
3.Emphasis is on large scale mechanized farming
and several hectares of land have been
purchased for crop and animal farming.
4.Several tractors and agricultural implements
costing millions of Naira, have been purchased
for mechanized agriculture in terms of land
preparation, planting, weeding, harvesting,
storage and processing.
5.Millions of Naira have been spent for the
establishment of well-equipped laboratories in
the field of Agriculture, Science and Engineering
that will support agricultural revolution.
6.Erection of Greenhouses for the production of
high value crops like tomatoes and other
vegetables that can be exported.
7.Linkage has been initiated by Landmark University
with Lower Niger River Basin Development
Authority at Ejiba, Kogi State for irrigation
facilities that will allow all year round
agricultural production.
8. Several linkages and collaborations with overseas
institutions and government agencies in the field of
agriculture have been initiated by Landmark University.
9. Erection of grain silos are in the pipeline for post-harvest
storage of agricultural products.
10.The University is using the value chain approach in
stimulating agricultural revolution.
11.The Chancellor, Dr. David Oyedepo awarded several
categories of scholarships to Students studying agriculture
with a view to become Agropreneurs upon graduation.
These Landmark University graduates will represent a new
generation of leaders in the field of agriculture who will
serve as role models for other youths. Landmark University
will mentor them to become professional farmers and
Agropreneurs.
MAJOR ACHIEVEMENT OF LANDMARK STUDENTS IN
DRIVING AN AGRICULTURAL REVOLUTION
FUTURE FARMERS GOING
TO HARVEST THEIR
PRODUCE
HARVESTING OF MAIZE
FROM FARM PRACTICE
LECTURER LEADING BY EXAMPLE
LU STUDENTS WITH ONE
OF THE LECTURERS FROM
CAS LEARNING HOW TO
MAKE SOYA MILK &
“BESKE”
DISPLAY OF SOYA MILK & AT
AGRIC. DAY
MILK
BESKE (CHEESE)
SOYA PRODUCTS MADE BY
CAS STUDENTS
CONCLUSION
In conclusion, it is our belief at Landmark University
that agriculture is a noble and profitable profession and
business and the youths in Nigeria should be motivated
and encouraged into the profession through the
modernization of agricultural production practices. The
trained and highly motivated youths will eventually
replace the aging farming population and spearhead
agricultural revolution in Nigeria. It is clear that we
need an agricultural revolution in Nigeria in order to
have strong and resilient economy. Successful increase
in agricultural production depends upon several
interrelated and interdependent factors.
It is now clear that the traditional peasant method of
farming and its low productivity cannot meet the huge
demands for agricultural products. New and better
techniques must be developed to improve upon the
present system through relevant scientific research and
development.
These researches cannot, however, improve agricultural
production unless there are sufficient trained personnel
to disseminate the results and to ensure that the
farmers can apply the methods on their farms.
Landmark University intends to play a major role in the
training of professional farmers and extension agents
that will catalyze agricultural revolution in Nigeria and
beyond.
THANK YOU FOR LISTENING

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