For the nation to experience self sustenance and food security, an agricultural expert, Mrs. Ogo Obok has called for a revolution in the agricultural sector.
The chief executive officer (CEO) of SENCE Agric, Mrs Ogo Ibok, called for a radical outlook in support of the sector and stakeholders in order to realise the country’s great potential.
Speaking in an Agric Business Clinic recently in Lagos, Mrs Obok said that there was a renewed interest in agriculture but the government, agencies and banks should help to make the sector strong as employment opportunities are available in the sector. She added that 0.3 per cent of farmers in Nigeria own most of the land and the rest of the farmers only do subsistence agriculture. “With the large population of youths in Nigeria, our government should help make agriculture lucrative and not just a dirty work as viewed in times past.
“N17.625trn which is 21.97 per cent of our national income can be generated from the sector if many loose ends are tackled. The farmers we have are ageing and there is no replacement for them because no one wants to go through the arduous process again but there are opportunities for mechanized farming being overlooked. Look at the major checkpoints (about 35 of them) faced by tomato farmers in bringing their produce from the North down to the south. More than 50 per cent got spoilt for lack of proper transportation facility and storage facility.
“Pineapples which grow in the South-South do not have the required storage system to make them durable until the buyer comes. Strawberries are grown in Jos but there is no proper frame work to harness these produce that the Westerners are looking for. The agro-chemical potential for crop protection products has the ability to grow at 9 per cent per annum at $250 million in Nigeria. There is no production presently in the agro-chemical sub-sector because we import all we need to protect our seeds and produce. We need a holistic change across the value chain- the production, processing and marketing of farm produce,” Ibok said.
Head of Agric, Heritage Bank Mr Ken Osanebi, stated at the clinic that farmers needed financial education as this has hampered them from accessing loans from banks. He added that most banks don’t want to deal with farmers because they don’t keep records and if records are not kept, the banks cannot monitor their progress.