Why we can’t do without agriculture

The discourse on the importance of agriculture as far as the economy of the nation is considered is still ongoing with some key stakeholders offering an insight on what should be done to make agriculture play its tangible role. It was an interesting opportunity to listen to the various submissions made at the event. For the Deputy Chairperson, Agricultural and Allied Group, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Mrs. Bosun Solarin has admonished Nigerians to change their orientation by assisting the nation to boost the value of the Naira against other international currencies. Mrs. Solarin gave the charge while speaking on “Opportunities for Networking and Collaboration” at the “Agricultural and Allied Group Agro Fair and Symposium”, held in Lagos.

She stressed need for Nigerian citizens to change their orientation towards taking over fully, rather than allowing foreigners to dominate the country’s economy. Mrs. Solarin, who is also the Chairperson, LCCI Export Group, advised people to look inward and think of the services they can render to make money rather than being idle, even as she counselled farmers to do their research and market survey well before planting in order for their produce not to be wasted. She posited that every exporter needs certification of their products to make them authentic for buyers to consider them while advising exporters of farm produce to look into African countries to export their goods.

Speaking on “Digital Agriculture: Opportunities, Challenges and Benefits”, Mr. Akin Alabi disclosed that farming was fast changing and it had now become global that farmers do not need to be on their farms before farming, stressing that agriculture is a culture, which had overtime, transformed into real business. He advised farmers, who are using social media platforms to enhance agribusiness, to make information about their products simple and detailed for people to understand in order to achieve optimum results. The Chairperson, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Agricultural and Allied Group, Mrs. Edobong Akpabio in her message titled, “Agribusiness: The Sustainable Panacea for Nigeria’s Economic Growth”. She maintained that agriculture is a business, stressing that the more we treat it as a business, as a way to create wealth, the more it would promote development and improve people’s lives.

According to her, agribusiness refers to the business part of agriculture; the enterprise, industry, process, system and the inter-related and inter-dependent value chain in agriculture; it is where more than 80 percent of activity and wealth in agriculture are found. The Chairperson said the LCCI’s Agricultural and Allied Group’s contributions to the agriculture sector and the country at large had been enormous by giving people the platform to showcase their goods and services, adding that it had been a reputable voice in the Nigerian business circle. She added that agriculture was contributing more to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at 23.2 percent, which had been consistent. She said the aim of the event was to ensure sustainable economy growth in Nigeria and discuss issues facing agriculture and agribusiness.

The Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya has advised that the only way for Nigeria to survive is through agriculture. She made this known while speaking on the theme; “Agribusiness: The Sustainable Panacea for Nigeria’s Economic Growth”, held in Lagos. According to the commissioner, until we see reasons why we need to take agriculture as the only way of surviving the economy, the country will still be the same. She said Nigerians need to participate more in production activities, stressing that agriculture cuts across from ‘farm to plate’ and not limited to producing alone. The commissioner maintained that agriculture is not for poor or for some selected people.

Rather, it is everybody’s business and there is the need for parents to encourage their children to go into agriculture rather than advising them to study other courses as there seem to be more opportunities in agriculture than other sectors. She observed that the number of farmers is reducing due to insecurity in the country, stressing that the increased invasion and security breaches had assumed frightening proportions and that the precarious security situation in the country be accorded necessary attention. The President s(LCCI), which put the programme together, Asiwaju (Dr.) Michael Olawale-Cole appreciated participants for their commitments, stressing that the event was timely to be given opportunity to discuss the economy of the country.

He said the programme had addressed the various challenges affecting the sector in the country and particularly in the agricultural value chain, stressing that agriculture accounts for 40 percent in employment generation and contributes more to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The President, who was represented by his vice, Mrs. Daramola Bamidele, said the sector had being bedeviled with insecurity and some of policies that were not favourable. In a nut shell, there is an urgent need for all stakeholders to come together and take a closer look at the various suggestions given above and the way forward towards making agriculture, truly the main stay of the Nigerian economy.