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Agriculture: Panacea for unemployment.

Written By Anambra Farmers on Sunday, 16 September 2012 | 02:43

MANY decades ago, specifically before this discovery of oil in Nigeria, the coun try prided itself on as an agrarian nation. Then, agriculture was the main stay of the economy. Besides leading in the production of some money crops for export, Nigeria was also reputed with the production of food crops in large quantities, such that many countries in the African sub-region, to a big extent, depended on the country for availability of crops. Each region was known to get a particular farm produce. For instance, the West was known intended for cocoa production, the East intended for palm oil, while the N . was known for groundnut.

Together with individuals’ efforts in farming, the government also channelled it is scarce resources to agriculture to be able to, among other things, boost it is productivity. There were farm funds everywhere, and farmers’ cooperative societies were established, where loans might be sourced. Not stopping there, government went in terms of institutionalising agricultural subsidy, wherein many agricultural inputs were substantially subsidised. Produce marketing board was also executed to regulate all agricultural develop markets, with the sole purpose of encouraging more people in this farm and ensuring their development and sustainability.

Agriculture alone then accounted intended for 90-95 per cent employment rate in the united kingdom. Up till that moment, there abound evidences of various infrastructural amenities provided with proceeds generated from agricultural earnings. As an example, the popular Cocoa House in Ibadan, the Groundnut pyramids in the North, and sundry other developmental projects scattered from coast to coast.

However, with the discovery of petroleum in commercial quantities as well as exploitation in the 60s, our story started to change. Many people, especially the kids, deserted farming for white dog collar jobs. To worsen matters, government’s attention was completely shifted from agriculture towards oil sector. More exploration recommended increased revenue, and government officials started to live extravagantly.

Same was extended towards public servants, as the government from the day, led by General Yakubu Gowon, doled out that which was then known as the Udoji honors. What this simply meant was influx of men and women in their thousands from rural areas to urban centres, seeking civil service jobs. The oil sector was much attractively packaged, that every Ben, Dick and Harry wanted his share of oil money this also had a very big blow on agricultural activities in the united kingdom.

Apart from the fact which the sector seriously caused digression from agriculture business, it also generated acute decline in employment, for the reason that sector alone, in all it is arms (onshore and offshore), still did not cater for the employment need from the population. Another atrocity of the oil boom was exposure of the many Nigerians to ‘overnight’, affluence with little if any effort.

This explains why right up until now, many graduates will prefer waiting endlessly for plum nevertheless scarce oil companies’ jobs in order to other available, but menial kinds.

In order to correct these types of anomalies, therefore, government must, as being a matter of urgency, declare state of emergency in the agricultural sector. We must go back to the drawing board and see our existence as attached to farming. Given our vast enlargement of fertile land, we usually do not require the service of soothsayers to become convinced that Nigeria has comparison advantage in agriculture. Here, our over-incresing population should likewise serve as a blessing, rather than a curse. To this end, government at all levels should be prevailed about, to heavily, but prudently put money into extensive agriculture. Farming should be packaged in such manner that it will likely be attractive to the youth.

Apart from, incentives should be provided to serious-minded farmers who will be keenly interested in producing food with the teeming population of Nigeria, to be able to earn their confidence. And government must strategise and harness all it is resources towards attracting people in rural areas. All poverty alleviation programmes should be substantially directed at encouraging farming activities. The tradition of giving Keke NAPEPS, okadas, clippers, which only make the youth to finish up struggling for space in the already crowded urban centres should be stopped. Agricultural settlements should be revived in all of the states of the federation, while subtle legislations for land acquisition should be enacted, and inputs made intended for extensive farming. Loans should also be produced accessible to farmers without exacting conditions.

Conclusively, I am sure by time all these necessary ingredients (pull factors) tend to be concentrated in rural areas around the world, not only will the redundancy problems be solved, the overcrowding your cities and its consequential problems can be automatically resolved as well.
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