Mr Kelikume Ikechukwu, Programme Director, Lagos Business School, on Saturday said that Agribusiness and not agriculture was the key to unlocking Nigerian economy.
Ikechukwu speaking to the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos described agriculture as activities such as crop production, fishery, forestry and animal husbandry.
He, however, said that agribusiness encompassed land, people, packaging, processing, transportation and the export of produce which goes beyond just farming.
“For instance, an agribusiness practitioner will take maize and extract ethanol and raw starch from it to produce industrial starch needed by textile industries.
“The industrial starch is produced outside Nigeria but the raw starch that is used in producing industrial starch comes form Nigeria,” he said.
The director added that if agriculture were truly the key to unlocking the economy, then Cote d’Ivoire, the richest country in cocoa production, would have ranked the biggest in the cocoa value chain.
He said, “Switzerland, however, is the biggest in the cocoa value chain but it does not produce cocoa that is why agribusiness is the key to unlocking the Nigerian economy.
“If we begin to expand it, you will see how big the agribusiness space is compared to agriculture that is why it holds the key and not agriculture.”
He advised youths interested either in agriculture or agribusiness to seek knowledge and experience first before pursuing money because agriculture requires experiential learning for its practitioners to be successful.
“Money should not be the first thing to consider when anyone is going into agriculture or else such will lose all the money, rather get knowledge and information which will serve as a guide.
“You need to dirty your hands and build experience by going to the farm to understand the terrain before you can become successful in the financial aspect,” he said.
Ikechukwu urged youths to take advantage of the several opportunities that abound in the agricultural space in order to meet increasing demand for food by a growing population of 200 million people.
“Our population is currently slightly above 200 million people and there is a problem with the age distribution because 43 per cent of our population lies between the age grade zero to 14 years.
“This means that we have over 90 million children that must be fed so we need more youths that will go into agriculture in order to meet the increasing demand for food,” he said.
He urged the organised private sector to show more interest in organising empowerment and capacity building programmes where several youths could benefit from.
Edited by Chioma UgbomaPeter Dada
River basin to create farm settlement in Auchi for food sufficiency
“Songhai farming is the best model of farming and I urge many Nigerians to embrace the model of agriculture from Auchi experience,” he said.
YIIFSWA, IITA sensitise 50 Edo yam farmers on new technology
The Yam Improvement for Income and Food Security in West Africa (YIIFSWA ll) and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) on Friday held a sensitisation forum on Aerophonics system of seed yam production for 50 yam farmers in Edo.
Mrs Perpetual Isiahon, Head of YIIFSWA, said that the programme was initiated to set a new tone for yam value chain in the state.
“Our task at this forum is to access the economic benefits of yam value chain, while using it as an initiative for the attainment of food security in Edo.
“The purpose of this forum is to sensitise participants on new technologies in producing seed yam and developing a better understanding of existing methods.
“It is also to expose participants to different products they can get from yam for income generation through its value chain,” she said.
Isiahon urged yam farmers in the state to key into the project and invest more on yam value chain for wealth creation.
She also called on the state government to assist in establishing new seed yam production companies in the state.
She said that a budget for yam in Edo would also encourage the production of yam.
In a speech, the Commissioner for Wealth Creation, Cooperatives and Employment, Mr Felix Akhabue, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr Joe Edionwe, said that Nigeria had a high demand for yam as a staple food.
Edionwe regretted that yam production in Nigeria was not enough to meet the growing local and export demands, hence the need for new technologies in seed yam multiplication and production.
He said that the realisation of the goal would, no doubt, facilitate wealth creation and empowerment in the yam value chain.
Akhabue pledged government’s support to collaborate with critical stakeholders to ensure that yam farmers and Edo people benefited immensely from the project.
Mr Wellington Omoragbon, state Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), commended the initiative and urged the farmers to take the message to their communities.
Omoragbon said the one-day advocacy and sensitisation forum, tagged “Sustainable production of high quality seed yam for wealth creation and empowerment”, was organised by IITA, in collaboration with Root and Tuber Division of FMARD.
1,300 rice farmers receive input for dry season farming in Delta–RIFAN
Mr Anthony Umunna, Delta Chairman, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) said that no fewer than 1,300 registered members of the association in the state have received inputs for dry season farming.
Umunna said though members received the inputs; paddy rice, herbicides, water pumps among others for the year’s dry season farming, they might not be able to plant until about September ending when the rains would have subsided.
He said that there was need for a review of the farming calendar between the northern and southern parts of Nigeria to enable timely release of inputs to farmers because of the difference in weather conditions.
According to Umunna, the quest for the release of the inputs have been on since to enable farmers in the south engage in this year’s dry season farming.
“As at today, 1,300 registered rice farmers in Delta have received paddy rice, herbicides, and water pumping machines among other inputs for 2019 dry season farming.
“In spite of our efforts, the inputs came late and as our farmers will have to wait till the end of September for the rains to subside before planting.
“This is why we are appealing to government for timely release of the inputs to enable our farmers work with the seasonal timetable and key into the dry season farming and that of the wet seasons farming appropriately,’’ he said.
He appealed to the farmers not to lose their patience as everything possible was being done by the association to ensure that all registered rice farmers benefited from the CBN-RIFAN Anchor Borrowers Scheme aimed at boosting rice production in Nigeria.
He also called on all the South-South governors to support the programme and ensure that farmers in the area got full benefits, adding that the programme would not only create jobs but also boost the economy and create wealth.
NAN reports that the programme is part of the CBN Anchor Borrowers Scheme in Partnership with RIFAN to boost rice production in the country.
Foundation lists how youths can explore goldmine in agriculture
By Cecilia Ijuo