A deeper look at farming

The role of the media and youth empowerment the promotion of farming have been stressed. This time around, the Director, Agricultural Media Resources and Extension Centre (AMREC), Abeokuta, Ogun State, Prof. Olalekan Olaoye, has disclosed that AMREC is doing a lot in providing extension services by training farmers in order to develop their farm work. The Professor said AMREC had been carrying out training and providing solutions to local farmers in different part of the state through research and some specialised training.

The director said they are doing some lectures and training for farmers, who are into poultry and fishery on how to take care of their farm products and link them up with buyers, who would buy their products at good price and also solve their problems financially. Prof. Olaoye also said that they train agricultural officers at the local government level and they associate with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security and many other stakeholders in the agriculture industry to make food available for Nigerians. He said they have five sections at AMREC, namely: extension and adaptive research, gender issues and youth development, media resources and farm broadcast, training and farm demonstration and planning, monitoring and evaluation – quality assurance sector.

He said they have specialists, who knew how to solve farmers’ problems and had helped many community farmers, adding that apart from farming, they do climate research and land research, among others. Elizabeth Oluwalana, a professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics, reiterated that government must stop playing lip-service to agriculture, while stressing that farmers could produce bumper harvest with their indigenous knowledge, but having value-chain addition had been a major problem confronting Nigerian farmers. The don, however, urged the government to look into the issue of glut, saying “agriculture is the bedrock and oxygen with which the country can survive”.

In a related development, a veteran broadcaster, Mr. Ademola Oladosu, has admonished on-air-personality in radio broadcast industry to seek knowledge through training and retraining exercises to improve themselves and quality of their programmes. According to Oladosu, who described radio as an essential and veritable tool for effective communication in modern day broadcast, said radio should be used as a channel of education to sensitise people, and not just about entertainment alone. The radio guest also reiterated that there must be a deliberate and intensified effort to ensure the correct use of radio as a medium of education, information and entertainment, particularly at this period in the history of Nigeria as a nation.

He added that “radio is an instrument of governance and tourism because of its relevance in the socialisation process”. Oladosu, however, advocated for effective use of indigenous language for natural radio broadcasting to achieve the organisational and programmes set goals and objectives, while advising professionals in the industry to endeavour to make their programme contents reflect what transpires in society and also correct societal ills.

Meanwhile, students and youths have been advised to make everyday of their lives count and strive in order to make impact in society. The Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Zino Agribusiness, Mr. Adewale Onadeko gave this piece of advice while addressing them. Onadeko said the students needed to discover themselves early, stating that they should know what their passion and the skills they possess in order to harness them properly in life and to chart their career path. He said, “Ask yourself, who am I? What gifts do I have? How do the gifts mature from seed to fruits? What do I have to apply to nurture it?” While he warned them to be careful about their circle of friends and their worldview, as these could sharpen the future they aspire for themselves.

He revealed that there are two variance of limits, saying in acceptable limit, time management and obeying rules and regulations of the university were crucial, adding that the unacceptable limit is characterised by a mindset of fear of how their tomorrow would be. The agripreneur urged the students to refuse the circumstances that would limit their mindsets, saying as they start their journeys in the university, they should start by consistently defining their purpose by aligning themselves with their vision. Onadeko, however, noted that for them to be a focused person in life, they must set their goals around every aspect of their life with admonition that “it is not enough to have purpose and set goals”, but they must pursue them with all determination.

Looking deeper in the final analysis, the use of specialised media of communication such as radio and extension services can help to discover the challenges facing farming and what can be done to address those problems by bringing researchers closer to the farmers. Not only that, more youths should be encouraged to venture into farming as a vocation and business, not only to reduce the level of unemployment in the country, but to boost food production and aid capacity development needed to transform the sector from what is existing now to a more vibrant sector for the nation.