Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has called on Government to focus on Agriculture and make plans to converting it into the bedrock of the economy; but his claims have received stiff attacks as a cross section of Nigerians believe he is only making such a call because he knows it will favour him as a farmer.
Obasanjo made the call at the First Eminent Persons Business Lecture entitled: ‘Agribusiness: Time to Act is now’.
The lecture was organised by the University of Ibadan, School of Business (UISB), in collaboration with International Institute of tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan.
“It is now time for the country to move into agriculture as there is decline in oil prices, inadequate food supply, need to create employment, raw material for industrialisation, among others.
“Adequate infrastructure for transportation and storage must be provided; there should be stability in the price of agriculture commodities.
“Agriculture financing should be kept at single digit rate of interest, agri-business must be glamourised to make it attractive to youths.
“Attention should not be given to professional courses alone in universities, adequate support must be given to agricultural research; we should adopt best practices from within and outside Nigeria.
“There should be creation of agro-service centres within reasonable distance for the farmers, we should add value to our foods to maximize returns from our investment,” he said.
Gov. Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo state who was ably represented by the state’s Commissioner for Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development, Mr Oyewole Oyewumi, said that the government was focused on the transformation of the agriculture sector.
Gov. Ajimobi said the state had developed an agriculture initiative programme as agriculture was an important factor in the development of the state.
“The programme is to tackle unemployment, provide adequate food and encourage youths to embrace agriculture,” he said.