Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has declared that the decline in oil prices might be a blessing in disguise to point Nigerians to the importance of agriculture. He then charged the Federal and state governments to treat agriculture as a business for the nation to make progress.
Obasanjo stated this on Saturday at the First Eminent Persons Business Lecture entitled: ‘Agribusiness: Time to Act is now’, organised by the University of Ibadan, School of Business, UISB, in collaboration with International Institute of tropical Agriculture, IITA, Ibadan.
His words, “It is now time for the country to move into agriculture as there is decline in oil prices, inadequate food supply, need to create employment, raw material for industrialisation, among others.”
The former president stated that agribusiness is a good strategy for economic development, wealth creation, job creation and huge source of foreign exchange. He also said that attention should be given to agriculture at the highest political level.
He stated that the government should provide conditions conducive and incentives for the private sector to engage profitably in agriculture.
The Otta farmer continued, “Adequate infrastructure for transportation and storage must be provided; there should be stability in the price of agriculture commodities.
“Agriculture financing should be kept at single digit rate of interest, agri-business must be glamourised to make it attractive to youths.
“Attention should not be given to professional courses alone in universities, adequate support must be given to agricultural research; we should adopt best practices from within and outside Nigeria.
“There should be creation of agro-service centres within reasonable distance for the farmers, we should add value to our foods to maximize returns from our investment,” he said.