APART from facilitating industrial development, agriculture has the potential to assist in alleviating poverty in Nigeria.
As this writer noted in a study, lack of food or inadequate feeding is the beginning of poverty, and agriculture is the only sector that provides food.
Feeding well improves health conditions; it also provides employment opportunities as well as income. Therefore, agriculture offers a multidimensional approach to poverty alleviation.
By extension, agriculture is one of the legitimate ways of generating revenue internally, especially at the state and local government levels. It also contributes a substantial percentage of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) thereby playing a major role in the economic fortunes of the country.
These facts justify the determination of the Ondo State governor, Mr Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), to make agriculture more viable in the state.
The governor recently urged the caretaker chairmen in the 18 local government areas of the state to provide 100 hectares of land in their respective domains for agricultural development.
In fact, the present federal administration under the leadership of President Mohammadu Buhari, apart from the bailout funds it provided for the payment of workers’ salaries, also earmarked some amounts of money for farmers at low interest rates.
This will go a long way in boosting agriculture and attaining self sufficiency in food production in Nigeria.
However, such funds should be disbursed in a timely manner, especially during the planting seasons. In addition, the government should avoid unnecessary bureaucratic procedures.
Government and other relevant bodies should intensify efforts in the provision of modern farming inputs such as fertilisers and other inputs at affordable prices and ensure that they are not diverted.
Feeder roads should be constructed and rehabilitated to ease transportation and avoid wastage of farm produce.
Also, government should intensify efforts in providing adequate security as well as passing laws and creating an enabling environment to attract the private sector and individual farmers.
It should effectively address the agricultural and security challenges bedevilling the country, particularly the feud between crop farmers and nomadic cattle rearers.
- Olarewaju Ajayi
Owo, Ondo State