Don urges FG to take steps to boost agricultural output, revenue

Prof. Adesina Yusuf Raji of Al-Hikmah University, Ilorin, has urged the federal government to take concrete steps that would enable Nigeria to meet and sustain its national output and revenue targets in the agricultural sector.

The Professor of History made the call at the second Inaugural Lecture of the Al-Hikmah University,  Ilorin on Wednesday on the topic: Unveiling Nigeria’s Dyfunctional Goldmine: A Chronicle of the Neglected Agricultural Potential in an Emerging Economy.

Prof Raji stressed the need for proper planning, implementation,  policy consistency and improvement in agricultural design, reform and goal-getting mechanisms to ensure continuity and sustainability even with regime change.

He called for total overhaul of current but moribund policy, and adoption of robust, realistic and credible alternative National policy framework that would be needed to transform agriculture into an alternative,  flourishing and lucrative enterprise.

The  inaugural lecturer said government must ensure that genuine farmers have access to capital and credit facilities to enable them raise their output.

According to him, there is need for adequate budgetary provision and prompt release of such fund to promote research and development in agriculture at all levels of governance.

He suggested the establishment of Agriculture Trust Fund to support research, innovation and proven  breakthroughs in agricultural institute,  public and private universities that focus on agriculture.

“The 2021 Agricultural Support Fund Bill by the National is a good initiative, and in tune with this point,” he added.

Prof. Yusuf Raji of Al-Hikmah University

The lecturer also recommended improvement and expansion of agricultural land holdings to enhance increased access to this critical factor of production.

He said Nigeris must embrace hydroponic farming to raise farmers output and reduce over-dependence on large acres of farmlands for crop production, especially in the light of the surging and frightening pace of national insecurity.

Raji stressed the need to boost farmers’ productive capacity with the use of improved farming techniques e.g tractors for clearing, cultivation and planting that would ensure departure from the use of hoes, cutlass and other obsolete farm tools.

He said the use of modern and functional irrigation system will ensure optimal utilisation of the country’s water resource potentials for all-year-round crop production

The don also noted that the adoption of an advanced fishing farm technology would make Nigeria become Africa’s leading exporter of fish products.

Prof. Raji also called for the development of a functional and realistic national fertilisers policy that would make this core farm input environment-friendly, affordable and available to all Nigerian farmers to improve their crop yield and raise output to meet medium and long-term national food demand and export targets.

The lecturer also suggested introduction of sustainable integrated rural development strategy to provide the right motivation for youths to become actively engaged in crop and/or luvestock production and processing.

He appealed to the Federal Government to address erosion scourge and incessant flood through proper channelisation of running water, and by expanding dams, rivers, and waterways for domestic use and for greater national fishery output.

Earlier, the Vice Chancellor, Prof Noah Yusuf in his address of welcome had said that the University is committed to providing academic excellence with a view to adding value to its community and the nation at large.

Edited by Felix Ajide