The Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr Kadri Hamzat, says that more investment in agriculture research and development will play an important role in providing solutions to unemployment in the country.
Hamzat said this as the guest speaker at the sixth Annual Faculty of Social Sciences,Lagos State University, Ojo lecture in Lagos on Wednesday.
The lecture has : “Addressing the Unemployment Scourge in Nigeria: The Role of Agriculture and Technology,” as its theme.
nvestments in agricultural research and development had shown in the past to have very high rates of return and necessity for nation building.
The guest speaker said, “Global private funding for research and development is commonplace in high-income countries and limited in most developing countries owing to lack of financing opportunities.
“I urge institutions and other educational organisations to concentrate more on research and development for the benefits of nations.
“In research and development,we can explore many opportunities such as plant breeding.
“In the face of the dwindling fortune in the oil revenues and government’s renewed efforts to diversity the economy,the answer will largely be found in agriculture and technology.
“In order to have far reaching policies to end unemployment, we understand that we have to work such that we broaden the economic activities in our state.
“That way,we will be able to fund all critical sectors of governance,especially, the security agencies in order to protect and serve the state, especially, the youth.
“There has to be protection for our hard working youths who are in the technology sector,” Hamzat said.
He said that there had to be an increase in the lending to the agriculture sector ,especially, from private savings,government allocations and agricultural credit schemes.
“Research funds that commercial banks lend to agriculture in developing countries are low; in Africa it is less than 10 per cent.
“We must increase our efforts to attract and facilitate foreign investments into the agriculture sectors.
“Infrastructure investment such as road will help to transport goods to market and reduce transaction costs to farmers and buyers,” Hamzat said.
He said that agriculture, technology and innovation when deployed appropriately would save Nigeria and its teeming population from unemployment and poverty.
“Today,Nigeria remains Africa’s largest ICT market with 82 per cent of the continent’s telecoms subscribers, and 29 percent of internet usage.
“The challenge is how to translate that into resource movement for the teeming population.
He said that the present administration was committed to creating an enabling environment for businesses operating in Lagos.
“We are ready to create an enabling environment that will elevate the farmer in Ikorodu from a small scale,one plot farmer to a job creator, to an exporter and from an exporter to a global enterprise.
“We will commit more allocation to the sector to improve rural infrastructure, encourage commercial loans and capacity building for farmers,” Hamzat said.(NAN)
Edited by Peter Dada