Prof. Tunji Arokoyo, an Agricultural Extension Development Communications Specialist, says only adequate investments in agriculture will surely take Nigeria out of poverty.
Arokoyo made this known at a Stakeholders’ Forum organised by Ogun Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) in Abeokuta on Thursday.
He noted that the Federal and State Governments should prioritise agricultural development in the country by committing the right money to the sector.
“Let me give you an example. The Maputo Agreement way back in 2003 says we’re all (all heads of state in AU) going to put 10 per cent of our budgets into agricultural development.
“We now came back again and went to Malabo 2014 and we reaffirmed that we were going to be committed to agriculture with the 10 per cent budgetary allocation.
“Only three countries have done that in the whole of Africa. I don’t know what happens to them when they sign all these MoUs and declarations.
“Oil is drying off; we should look at what is happening in other climes. UK has said that from 2025, no more fossil fuel-powered vehicles. What is Nigeria doing about it?
“There’s no car you’ll find in Brazil today that’s not hybrid using bio-fuel from cassava, sugarcane and jetropha and so on. What have we done with our zero hunger project,’’ he said.
Arokoyo urged government to pay adequate attention to agriculture, saying that the sector remained the only magic that could take Nigeria out of poverty.
The State Project Coordinator of VCDP, Mr Samuel Adeogun, explained that one of the issues, particularly with youths and women was access to land.
Adeogun said that one of the interventions of the programme was to be able to clear land for the farmers in specific locations.
He said: “When that is done, it assists youths, women and other farmers who do not have direct access to land to be able to have direct access to land to farm.
“This is because we’re working in just eight local governments and we’re working with some of the farmers’ groups. We’re looking forward to be able to have up to 20,000 hectares.
“This is because as we speak to you, we have more than 12,000 farmers in our database across eight local governments in the state.’’