• Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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BusinessDay

Obstacles to agricultural development in Nigeria (II)

Why youths need training on sustainable farming

Eko John Nicholas

If the agricultural sector must be made productive and sustainable, government at all levels must be prepared to take the lead by investing massively in the development of the industry. Contrary to the belief in government circles that agriculture should be private-sector driven, it cannot cede its constitutional responsibilities to the teeming population of private profiteers.
Sadly enough, recent pronouncements by the Federal Government do not indicate that our political officeholders are prepared to commit public resources towards bettering the lot of the populace. If anything, they are ready to inflict more pains on the already over- burdened poor working people so as to continue their ostentatious life style. Expectedly, the masses are ready to react to this by demanding that government invest public resources in the real sector of the economy, so as to guarantee improved living conditions for all and sundry.
At the 47th National Executive committee (NEC) meeting of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abuja recently, the President said: “We cannot see the end of this crisis within 2009.The World Bank and IMF and all other institutions are saying that there is no solution in 2009. In fact, if the global effort is going to make impact at all, it may have to start somewhere. If we are very lucky, in 2010. While we are in this crisis, we must make sacrifices and we must be realistic.”

Read Also: The African Farmers’ Stories: The Business of Agriculture – A Personal Journey

But the president should know that since the inception of this government, the masses have been making sacrifices while their belts have remained tight. They will therefore not continue to starve themselves at the expense of the ruling elite’s luxurious lifestyle.
If sacrifice is desirable, the ‘elected’ officials including members of various houses of assembly -should commence the sacrifice by relinquishing their earnings, both official and otherwise, and start earning the salary of average workers. as a step towards collective belt tightening.
In the final analysis, it is imperative, more than ever before, that government is made to invest public funds in agriculture, health, education, manufacturing, etc, with workers steering the ship through democratic management and control. This arrangement will ensure proper planning and prevent looting of the resources meant for these sectors, and the impact of the global economic meltdown will be inevitably mitigated.