Agriculture has been described as one of Nigeria’s most powerful tools in addressing the challenges of creating more employment, better public health and greater economic growth.
The managing director of Duromu Farms Limited, Dayo Olu, in an interview with The Tide, stated this shortly after an Agric-business forum organised in Port Harcourt on Saturday.
According to him, the need to focus on agriculture stems from the facts that the sector accounts for 70 per cent of the people in the rural areas, the growing demand for food and more importantly, abut 44 per cent contributions of agriculture to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product.
He stressed that the transformation of agriculture would stimulate small and medium-sized industries that are known to be the engine room of economic growth.
Olu noted that achieving economic transformation would require more investments in agricultural research and development and the development infrastructure. Also, that Nigeria needs to build its defence against biological threats to crops just as it is being done for the military.
He posited that agriculture in Nigeria in recent decades have been constrained by weak institutions and inadequate infrastructure.
“These constraints are well known. Less known are the limited application of technologies, the low skills base in the sector, and its aging population. The young are fleeing rural areas and the production side of the sector.
Similarly, financial institutions view the agricultural sector as risky and so it deserves a very small portion of commercial credit,” he said.
According to him, getting the young people interested in agriculture and developing a supportive financial system to facilitate the access of farmers, traders and processors to credit could go a long way in addressing several national needs.
He described the agricultural setting in Nigeria as dynamic, explaining that the problems and challenges facing agriculture could be turned to profits.