Presentation on theme: "DRIVING AN AGRICULTURAL REVOLUTION IN ATTAINING CONTINUOUS RELEVANCE LANDMARK UNIVERSITY,OMU ARAN, KWARA STATE. Being Paper Presented during the 2014 Faculty."— Presentation transcript:
DRIVING AN AGRICULTURAL REVOLUTION IN ATTAINING CONTINUOUS RELEVANCE LANDMARK UNIVERSITY,OMU ARAN, KWARA STATE. Being Paper Presented during the 2014 Faculty Advance Programme for all Faculty/Staff of Landmark University, Omu-Aran, Kwara State held from 18 th - 20 th November, 2014. BY PROFESSOR E.O. OYAWOYE DEPUTY VICE-CHANCELLOR
AGRICULTURE: THE FIRST AND FOREMOST GOD- GIVEN PROFESSION GEN. 2: 15
SUMMARY Agriculture used to be the mainstay of the Nigerian economy contributing a high percentage to the Gross Domestic Product(GDP) as well as being a high foreign exchange earner for the country. However, the discovery of oil (Petroleum) in Nigeria in the early 1960s brought about a major decline in our agricultural production. The oil boom led to agricultural doom with all the attendant consequences for Nigeria. No country can develop economically without a strong agricultural base and Nigeria cannot be an exception.
The strength of the United States economy is based on agriculture and America can feed the whole world and America is now using agriculture as a weapon for political control of the whole world. This paper examined the challenges facing agriculture in Nigeria and made suggestions for stimulating agricultural revolution which will ultimately lead to industrial revolution and relevance of Nigeria in the global economy and world politics..
A nation that can not feed itself is at the risk of being enslaved by other nations. The paper concluded that it is not too late for Nigeria to go back to the land but the government and the private sector represented by Landmark University have major roles to play to bring about agricultural revolution. Agricultural revolution is also important in our desire to achieve our vision 20,2020
INTRODUCTION Agricultural Science has become a very important subject at all levels in the education of tropical people. This is because the economies and lives of the people who live in the tropics are largely based on agriculture. The provision of adequate food of the right quantity and quality for its people is the ultimate goal of the government of every country. However, the rapid increase in the human population of these developing countries tend to limit the impact of the efforts of increased food and fibre production.
Through agriculture, a country can harness natural resources on land, in the forests, in the rivers, streams, lakes and the sea to provide all the people's needs and to promote national development.
WHAT IS AGRICULTURE? Agriculture can be regarded as purposeful work through which the elements in nature are harnessed to produce plants and animals to meet human needs such as food, feed, fibre and fuel. It is a biological production process which depends on the growth and development of selected plants and animals within the local environment. Agriculture is therefore a renewable natural resource compared to petroleum which is a depletable natural resource. Agriculture should be seen as an occupation or profession from which to derive a livelihood. Agriculture is also an industry or business employing knowledge of the various sciences for the production of food, fibre and fuel.
It is important therefore, that a deliberate effort is made to develop and revolutionize agriculture. The results of scientific research must be brought to bear upon the performance of peasant agriculture in many developing countries in order to increase agricultural productivity. One of the major problems facing developing countries in the tropics is the production of sufficient food, fibre, and shelter for their large population. The greatest challenge which faces developing countries today is to eliminate hunger and to overcome poverty. Food production therefore is very important in the economies of tropical developing countries and agriculture provides the means to increase food and fibre production.
SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF THE NIGERIAN AGRICULTURAL SYSTEM About 70% of the Nigerian population are engaged in agriculture and the rural economy is based on agriculture. Agriculture is largely based on hoe and cutlass technology and mainly based on human labour. Agriculture in Nigeria is very laborious and it is not appealing to the youths that represent the future of the country. Many universities are facing declining enrollment in the field of agriculture. Agriculture is on a very small scale with the average peasant farmer having less than 2 hectares of land. Low input and application of modern scientific knowledge in the field of Agriculture.
Low level of investments in various aspects of agricultural production. The people involved in Agriculture are aging and the youths are not willing to replace them. The youths prefer to work in the banks or take other white collar jobs. Government has not provided enough enabling environment to boost agricultural production. High costs and non-availability of agricultural inputs such as fertilizer, herbicide, insecticide, feed ingredients and other agrochemicals.
FUNCTIONS THAT AGRICULTURE MUST PERFORM TO BE RELEVANT TO THE ECONOMY Food Production: A serious country must produce abundant food to feed her citizens and should be able to export the excess to other countries. People must have food of high quality and adequate quantity to improve and maintain their health and nutritional well being. Food is a paramount human need and we must be able to achieve food security. Provision of Jobs and Employment Increasing demand for agricultural products results in an increase in the level of agricultural activity. This means that many more people will become employed in the agricultural industry as farmers, crop processors, traders, middlemen and transporters. Agriculture provides employment especially in the rural areas.
Provision of raw materials for local agro-based industries. Many industrial raw materials are agricultural products. Vegetable oils, rubber, textile, canning and soap manufacturing industries use agricultural products as raw materials. Source of foreign exchange for the country. Before the advent of oil, the bulk of the foreign exchange earnings for Nigeria was coming from cash crops like Cocoa, Palm produce, groundnut, rubber and cotton as well as animal products like hide s and skin. Source of income to farming families: Increased agricultural production can generate income to the farming families through the sale of their agricultural produce in the market. Agriculture is a veritable tool for poverty alleviation in the rural areas because crop and animal products can be sold in the market for money. Development of Educational and Training Institutions: Many Agricultural educational institutions have been established to educate and train people in the science of agriculture. The federal and state governments as well as the private sector have been involved and the establishment of Landmark University is a private initiative in Agricultural revolution. Young people will receive formal education and a training which provides them with a career.
STRATEGIES FOR ACHIEVING AGRICULTURAL REVOLUTION IN NIGERIA It is sad to note that after fifty-four years of independence, Nigeria cannot feed her citizens and cannot produce enough raw materials for the local agro-based industries. We cannot continue to practice peasant agricultural system and there must be a radical change from the past practices. We must therefore break new grounds if we are to achieve agricultural revolution in Nigeria. There must be a synergy between the government and the private sector in stimulating agricultural revolution. Both the government and the private sector have major roles to play to make agriculture relevant to our economy. The government should concentrate on providing enabling environment for agricultural development while the private sector should embark on large scale mechanized farming practices. Government should not be involved in direct production since it is not an efficient producer of goods and services.
Direct agricultural production should be left in the hands of private individuals who want to invest in large scale mechanized agriculture as professional farmers and businessmen. The role of the government in providing enabling environment for agricultural revolution is very crucial and it is a prerequisite for agricultural development.
THE ROLE OF THE GOVERNMENT The land tenure system must be altered in such a way as to make large expanse of land available to individuals that want to go into large scale mechanized farming. Proper funding and performance of various agencies of government dealing with agriculture. Such agencies include : NCAM- National Centre for Agricultural Mechanization ARMTI- Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute CRIN- Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria
NAPRI- National Animal Production Research Institute IAR- Institute for Agricultural Research NCRI- National Cereals Research Institute NIHORT- National Institute for Horticultural Research NSPRI- Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute FIIRO- Federal Institute for Industrial Research, Oshodi These government agencies through their research activities can boost agricultural productivity and hence farm income. Farming will therefore become attractive to our youths that represent the Future Farmers of Nigeria (FFN).
The government must lay emphasis on large scale mechanized agriculture so that agriculture can become an attractive profession for our youths. It is the laborious nature of peasant agriculture that is driving away the youths. Agriculture must be modernized to attract the youths to the profession. Construction of a network of rural and urban roads to facilitate the supply of agricultural inputs and the removal of agricultural output to the market. Adequate supply of potable water and water for irrigation purposes. The river basin authorities must be well funded and managed to perform their role in agricultural production.
Regular Energy Supply in terms of Electricity and Petroleum Products. Farm machinery requires petroleum products for operation. Completion and proper management of the Ajaokuta Steel Mill. Iron and Steel represent the backbone for industrial revolution. Production of farm machinery for agricultural mechanization will require Iron and Steel. Then government must provide agricultural finance at low interest rate. This will encourage farmers to invest and increase their scale of production thereby boosting agricultural production and farm income
The government must make available agricultural inputs such as fertilizer, herbicides, agro- chemicals, improved seeds at affordable prices. The government must create and manage properly Agricultural Commodity Marketing Boards for price stability of agricultural products. Re-introduction of the Farm Settlement Scheme in all the States of the federation to attract youths into Agricultural profession. Award of Federal and State Scholarships to students intending to study agriculture in the Nigerian University System.
THE ROLE OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR Private individuals should take advantage of the enabling environment created by the government to go into large scale mechanized agriculture. Agriculture is a profession as well as a business and the generation of income from agriculture will attract our youths into the profession. The absence of active private sector participation in large scale agricultural production may be the missing link in our desire to achieve agricultural revolution. The youths in Nigeria must be attracted into the profession through the modernization of the agricultural production system.
The vision of the Chancellor, Dr. David Oyedepo in establishing Landmark University is to demonstrate that private individuals can initiate agricultural revolution through the training of youths in modern agricultural practices who will become future professional farmers and businessmen making a living and creating jobs in the field of agriculture. The crop of graduates of Landmark University will become Future Farmers of Nigeria(FFN) and Agropreneurs.
Landmark University is focusing on the youths because the youths are vibrant, energetic, resourceful, innovative and creative and represent the future of the country. The strategies being used by Landmark University to bring about agricultural revolution include the following 1.Establishment of Farm Practice as a course for all Students of Landmark University to inculcate the farming culture and the dignity of labour.
2.Intensive application of modern science and technology in the agricultural production process. 3.Emphasis is on large scale mechanized farming and several hectares of land have been purchased for crop and animal farming. 4.Several tractors and agricultural implements costing millions of Naira, have been purchased for mechanized agriculture in terms of land preparation, planting, weeding, harvesting, storage and processing.
5.Millions of Naira have been spent for the establishment of well-equipped laboratories in the field of Agriculture, Science and Engineering that will support agricultural revolution. 6.Erection of Greenhouses for the production of high value crops like tomatoes and other vegetables that can be exported. 7.Linkage has been initiated by Landmark University with Lower Niger River Basin Development Authority at Ejiba, Kogi State for irrigation facilities that will allow all year round agricultural production.
8.Several linkages and collaborations with overseas institutions and government agencies in the field of agriculture have been initiated by Landmark University. 9.Erection of grain silos are in the pipeline for post-harvest storage of agricultural products. 10.The University is using the value chain approach in stimulating agricultural revolution. 11.The Chancellor, Dr. David Oyedepo awarded several categories of scholarships to Students studying agriculture with a view to become Agropreneurs upon graduation. These Landmark University graduates will represent a new generation of leaders in the field of agriculture who will serve as role models for other youths. Landmark University will mentor them to become professional farmers and Agropreneurs.
MAJOR ACHIEVEMENT OF LANDMARK STUDENTS IN DRIVING AN AGRICULTURAL REVOLUTION HARVESTING OF MAIZE FROM FARM PRACTICE FUTURE FARMERS GOING TO HARVEST THEIR PRODUCE LECTURER LEADING BY EXAMPLE
LU STUDENTS WITH ONE OF THE LECTURERS FROM CAS LEARNING HOW TO MAKE SOYA MILK & “BESKE” DISPLAY OF SOYA MILK & AT AGRIC. DAY
SOYA PRODUCTS MADE BY CAS STUDENTS MILK BESKE (CHEESE)
CONCLUSION In conclusion, it is our belief at Landmark University that agriculture is a noble and profitable profession and business and the youths in Nigeria should be motivated and encouraged into the profession through the modernization of agricultural production practices. The trained and highly motivated youths will eventually replace the aging farming population and spearhead agricultural revolution in Nigeria. It is clear that we need an agricultural revolution in Nigeria in order to have strong and resilient economy. Successful increase in agricultural production depends upon several interrelated and interdependent factors.
It is now clear that the traditional peasant method of farming and its low productivity cannot meet the huge demands for agricultural products. New and better techniques must be developed to improve upon the present system through relevant scientific research and development. These researches cannot, however, improve agricultural production unless there are sufficient trained personnel to disseminate the results and to ensure that the farmers can apply the methods on their farms. Landmark University intends to play a major role in the training of professional farmers and extension agents that will catalyze agricultural revolution in Nigeria and beyond.