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Food sufficiency achievable if 30% Nigerian population engage in farming – Expert

Nigeria’s agric growth slows to lowest in 3yrs

Olufemi Oladunni, the executive director of Agriculture and Rural Management Training Institute (ARMTI), has said Nigeria will achieve self-sufficiency in food production only if 30% of its population can engage in farming.

Oladunni, stated this on Tuesday in Ilorin while delivering his welcome address at a free training programme on agribusiness for members of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Kwara State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), organized by ARMTI.

The programme, which was part of annual Press Week celebration of the chapel of the NUJ, was aimed at training journalists on sustainable agribusiness during and after service.

The ARMTI director posited that mass farming by Nigerians, irrespective of class status will also force down the skyrocketing prices of foodstuff in the country.

“If you don’t go to market for some certain food items, the prices would go down. That’s what agric does for you and me. Civil servants, journalists and every other professional should combine agribusiness with what they do.

“We should not even give the excuse of not having land to cultivate and go into farming nowadays as soilless cultivation can be done. I can only charge the government to ensure that it lowers the cost of inputs like fertilizers and ensure quality of agric inputs like seeds,” Oladunni said.

Read also: Creating an African vision for the future of our food systems

He, however, advised the government to encourage more Nigerians to go into farming by subsidising agricultural inputs and ensure that only qualitative and standard inputs are in the market for farmers to buy.

On the problem of insecurity, Oladunni advised the government across board to engage the restive youths in productive ventures such as agriculture and agribusinesses.

The Director informed that ARMTI has been engaging in the training of youths in various areas of agribusiness to make them not only self-employed but employers of labour, adding that at the end of the training programmes, ARMTI also provided starters packs valued at N200,000 to each of the beneficiaries to enable them start their own businesses.

He said the institute was created to domesticate agricultural management among people involving in agribusiness in their different locations, adding that the management has decided to take ARMTI close to people in the six geopolitical zones of the country in such locations as Rivers, Ibadan, Kano, Abia as well as Bauchi.

Participants at the training programme were taken through agribusiness identification and selection, technical and management skills required to engage in agribusiness among other aspects to ensure productivity.