sharing life's secrets to smart people.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017


Women in a farm somewhere in Edo State.
 The calls for a renewed interest in agriculture is not a new thing to Nigerians, the federal government, state government and public figures have made this call and have sometimes described it as the only way out of the single oil economy that we find our nation in today.
The position of the new government of Edo State is no different from that of the government at the federal level as both seem to be calling for a renewed interest in agriculture amongst the people. The people of Edo State have practised farming for centuries before now and in most cases, Edo people have relied on old and outdated farming techniques to produce food for themselves and to make very little quantity available for sale. This is the reason why the practise of farming in Edo State is on a serious decline. Accept it or not, as you read this, fewer lands are being cultivated, fewer animals are being reared and fewer people are undertaking farming as a fulltime job every day in Edo State.
     Most of the old farmers who were, as it seems.  The “Masters” of the old farming practise are now well retired and out of service. These veterans of agriculture in Edo State now rely on aids provided by their children who may be struggling with one white collar job or the other in the city or outside the country. The questions now are; why are our youths running away from the agricultural legacy laid down by their parents? “the answers are several, but each answers all narrow down to the fact that, farming is no longer an attractive, lucrative or competitive alternative to the white collar jobs which are scarcely available in our cities today. Farming have fallen from the once exalted position which it enjoyed to a position of neglect and pariah, and this is no fault of the generations of today, the fact that pasts generations kept relying on old, outdated and unsustainable farming practise are enough reasons for the present generation who are now well familiar with the “mechanics and automotive” ease of getting things done, to isolate themselves from the conservative and backward culture of manual farm labour and the various inefficient local farming methods practised by our predecessors .
How then can we bring about a renewed interest in agriculture amongst our younger generations to ensure that our farms do not go into extinction in Edo State?
These are my recommendations for the Edo State Government:
1.      Begin to facilitate the adoption of modern farming techniques by providing these equipments and machineries and training the farmers on how to operate them. This could be achieved through a Public Private Partnership between the State Government and interested investors in the banking sector. Agricultural equipment renting centres can then be made available in major farming communities in Edo State. And the Government may also need to partner with Agricultural Equipments and Farm Machines providers, to establish maintenance facilities and to train and transfer this knowledge to our youths.
2.      Engagement in wide reaching sensitization campaigns, which would be aimed at changing the mindsets of our youths about farming. This could be achieved through the use of the main stream medias, the social media, and the organization of “catch them young” campaigns in our secondary schools and higher institutions. The campaigns should be able to bring to the awareness of our youths the facts that, agriculture is a lucrative and prestigious undertaking when done using the available modern farming techniques and the various state of the art innovations in agriculture.
3.      Enact agriculture friendly policies which would encourage even the laziest person to want to go into farming. Examples of such policies are: creation of an agricultural scholarship scheme for youths who are already engaged in farming but are interested in improving their knowledge by learning new farming practices abroad, such policies could also include the provision of financial grants or interventions for farmers who are in urgent need of such assistance to improve on their already established farms. In terms of policies there are so many things the government can do to attract our youths to go back into agriculture.
4.      Creation of a low interest loan scheme for farmers  with unique and bankable prospects. The reason why most farmers in Edo State do not engage in large scale farming is because in most cases they cannot afford a bigger farm, so providing such persons with a low interest loan to expand their already established farms or to undertake a new farm project. This would go a long way to encourage others . the loan could also be in the form of the provision of technical assistance and the service of farm machines during the planting season to be paid for after harvest.
5.      Attract customers and investors for our farm products, Edo State Government can achieve this through the facilitating bilateral trade agreements on the export of farm produce with other countries. That way any farmer in Edo State can become a exporter of farm produce through these agreements, Government could also organize media campaign aimed at attracting both local and foreign investors to the availability of high quality raw materials from farms in Edo State.
6.      Create processing mills, silos and factories. To help reduce the stress that farmers often go through in processing their products locally, Government can sensitize farmers on modern processing techniques and provide state of the art processing and storage facilities that would ensure that no farmer from our farming communities would have any reason to complain of his/her products getting spoilt or expired due to the ineffective local processing and storage techniques.

Our youths are naturally innovative and creative and not having them in the agricultural scene for all this times have been a big loss for agricultural development in Edo state. If our youths can be brought onboard the agricultural train in Edo State then we would see a lot of improvements and ground breaking achievements being achieved within a short period of time.