Nigerians – both the lettered and the unlettered now find it easy to launch scandal on the government because of its flippant attitude towards the agricultural decline in Nigeria. Everyone claims the government has relied so heavily on the “black gold,” which has blinded us to other economic sectors. Well, did they speak the truth?
This article does not centre on what the government has done or failed to do. Rather than that, it focuses on the role we all played in the agriculture sector’s demise.
Causes of the agricultural decline in Nigeria
According to reliable statistics, there are well over twenty million unemployed graduates in the country, and among this alarming number are the graduates of departments of agriculture in our various institutions in Nigeria. This then throws up the question, is there any taboo in tilling of the soil? According to available economic data, agriculture has the capacity to provide jobs to well over forty million Nigerians. One then wonders what is chasing people from this gold mine.
Many graduates of agriculture sit idly at home waiting for an elusive tie-wearing job in an air-conditioned office, thereby allowing the lessons learned in school to blunt away. To avoid wobbling everything together, it sounds sensible to briefly introduce the people who may not know much about agriculture.
Branches of agriculture in Nigeria
We have four main branches of agriculture in Nigeria, and they are:
- Crop production
- Livestock farming
Each of these branches holds great potentials and wealth for whoever dares to delve into them. It must be made known to all that the often-told story of our “then outstanding agricultural success was not only due to the government’s contribution but also the citizens”. Our parents, in those days, derived great pleasure in farming. 75% were farmers (both commercial and peasant) in different aspects of agriculture. They are thereby contributing immensely to the development of the country.
What is the way forward?
The agricultural decline in Nigeria is saddening, saddening that agriculture has been allowed to rot and wither and has taken us so many wasted years to really see how much damage has been done to the sector by cheap dollars provided by oil. I have come to the knowledge that is relying solely on the government to revitalize the dying sector will take forever.
Agriculture was not an easy venture in the past, yet many of our parents were involved. Today, the advances made in agriculture and scientific research have turned agriculture from a backbreaking enterprise to a joy-filled profession. What still keeps millions away still beats my understanding.
Youth must stop parroting what has become a daily hymn of no job. It is high time we went back to the farm! Agriculture holds a large deposit of wealth. Only those who can sweat out on the farm can withdraw from it.
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