Expert seeks Nigeria’s commitment to agricultural transformation

Nigerians at all levels have been challenged to show genuine commitment towards agriculture,  in order to achieve the desired transformation.

Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, an Animal Scientist in the Department of Animal Production, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, made the assertion in a keynote address he delivered at the 4th Convocation of Landmark University in Omu-Aran, Irepodun Local Government Area of Kwara.

He spoke on  “Revolutionising Agriculture: A Catalyst for Up-Scaling Development and Transformation in Africa.’’

Bogoro said that in order to achieve a sustainable agricultural development regime, there was the need to boost agriculture budget at all three levels of government  in line with global practices.

According to him, such commitment is needed as a catalyst for up-scaling development and transformation of agriculture in Nigeria and other African countries, especially in an era of recession.

All stakeholders including universities, research institutes, centres of excellence, governments and development partners’ must show genuine commitment to revolutionising agriculture as the best alternative economy. There is need for matching the rhetoric on the importance of agriculture with a financial commitment to support it,” Bogoro said.

He said Nigeria had not come close to meeting the African Union’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) guidelines for African countries to spend at least 10 per cent of their budget on agriculture.

This is despite the financial commitment to do so. Agriculture spending averaged just 4.6 per cent of overall federal spending between 2008 and 2014. Not surprising, the contribution of the agriculture sector to the overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has declined over the same period,” he said.

The Institution’s Chancellor, Bishop David Oyedepo, said that there was no justification for Nigeria to be importing food items going by its agriculture potential.

Oyedepo said it was high time government and the governed demonstrated  to the world that  the country  could evolve  solutions to the challenges of hunger, poverty and unemployment.

We need to come back to the real issues confronting us; we need to start creating solutions to our problems. We must think for ways of putting theoretical agriculture into raw agricultural practices with the endowed abundant resources available. There is no basis for importing chicken from any part of the world for a country so blessed like Nigeria. Whether you have B.Sc in Engineering or B.Sc Computer Science or International Relations, you must eat to survive,” he said.

In her remarks, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Aize Obayan, reiterated the institution’s commitment to driving an agrarian revolution to fight food insufficiency, poverty and unemployment,” she said.

No fewer than 468 students graduated during the ceremony,  with 66 of them passing out with First Class honours.

 

Mazino Dickson