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Buhari, farming and what is left undone

Buhari, farming and what is left undone

Ever before the current economic downturn rocking the world as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic facing the entire planet, there has been constant cry from all and sundry of the need by government to diversify the economy. Many argue that the government could take advantage of the country’s arable land to generate more income for the nation, at least agriculture was the mainstream of the economy prior to the discovery of petroleum.

In the first republic before the era of oil boom, the three regions of north, west and east were in healthy competition to develop their respective region from the proceeds from agriculture. While the old western region relied on cocoa, the eastern region had palm oil to cater for their developmental needs. The north with dexterity in the production of groundnut had a symbolic groundnut pyramid through which they sustained the region. Most of the regions social and economic infrastructure were built from agriculture.

The above retrospection is necessary to understand where Mr president was coming from during the exclusive interview given to Channels Television by President Muhammadu Buhari, where at some point in the interview Mr President was asked what plans do his administration has in place to curb high rate of unemployment, poverty and economic instability. In his response, he sees farming as the only solution to those problems. In honesty, there are many opportunities in agriculture that can lead to economic prosperity of any nation.

It is known fact that government all over the world do not create jobs, but it is their job to create an enabling environment which should be primary objectives to help business to thrive and provide legitimate job to the teeming population. Where are the incentives to make farming more attractive to the youths which constitute a larger percentage of the population?

This begs for a solution. Year in year out, farmers keep losing money due to the lack of credible and good storage facilities to store the extras of their farm produce during harvest season, which makes them sell cheaply while many products rotten away due to the lack of storage facilities. Government as enablers in this field have failed. How in the world did Mr president think this can grow economy?

Can the economy grow in an agrarian endeavour that is left in the hands of those who go into farming for subsistence rather than commercial purpose? There is no amount of money that can be pumped into the agriculture, as evident since inception of this administration, that will yield result unless the government gets down to the basics by providing necessary infrastructure that can make farming more attractive to the youths.

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No matter the willingness of youths to participate in agriculture, they still need suitable attraction that if not in par with white collar job, can be close to it. Youths cannot embark and thrive in agriculture or farming as Mr president like to call it without the enabling environment to boost those passions and make it economically self reliant.

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