By Wole Adedeji, Ilorin
The rising food scarcity and costs in Nigeria will only be arrested if every household makes it a point of duty to go into farming and grow food crops.
The Executive Director of Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute, ARMTI, Dr Olufemi Oladunni, gave this advice in Ilorin, Kwara State.
He was speaking at a training workshop organized by his
Institute at the its campus along Lokoja-Ilorin highway for members of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Kwara State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ.
His call was to the effect that each household in Nigeria should endeavour to produce at least 30% of the food members of such family consume.
He said it is only by this that the high cost of living and indeed, food prices could be drastically controlled and become bearable for the ordinary citizen.
The one-day training on agribusiness was conducted free of charge, to prepare journalists, particilarly members of the Correspondrnts’ Chapel of the Kwara State Council of the NUJ for life after service
The programme, which was part of annual Press Week celebration of the chapel, was aimed at training journalists on sustainable life in retirement, especially in agribusiness.
Dr. Oladunni said that agriculture is no longer a hobby, but a business, stressing that the prevalent high price of food items in the country could be favourably addressed when every family produces 30 per cent of what they consume.
He said, “If you don’t go to market for some certain food items, as long as you have it at home, after you had harvested from your farm, prices would go down. That’s what agric does for you and me.
“Civil servants, journalists and every other professionals should combine agribusiness with what they do.We should not even give excuses of not having land to cultivate farming nowadays, because soiless cultivation can now be done.
“I can only charge the government to ensure that it lowers cost of inputs like fertilizers and ensure quality of agric inputs like seeds.”
The ARMTI boss, who said that there is no crime-free society, added that Nigeria can achieve reduction in crime, especially, among youths when they are engaged in agricultural production and agribusiness.
Speaking on the problem of insecurity in the country, Oladunni advised governments across board to engage the restive youths in productive ventures, such as agriculture and agribusinesses as the quickest and effective way out.
He disclosed that ARMTI has been engaging in the training of youths in various areas of agribusiness to make them not only self- employed, but also be employers of labour.
Dr. Oladunni added that at the end of such training programmes, ARMTI also provided starter packs valued at N200,000 to each of the beneficiaries as a way to make them start their own businesses.
He said ARMTI was created to domesticate agricultural management among people involving in agribusiness in their different locations, adding that the management has decided to take ARMTI close to people in the six geopolitical zones of the country in locations like Rivers State, Ibadan, Kano, Abia State as well as Bauchi.
Participants at the training programme were taken through agribusiness identification and selection, technical and management skills required to engage in agribusiness, among other aspects to ensure productivity.