By Kehinde Omotayo
A suggestion has gone to the federal government to translate the population strength of the country dominated mostly by youths to food sufficiency.
A Chartered Accountant and farmer, Mr Ibukun Adewole who spoke with The Hope in Akure said that this can be achieved by making the one year mandatory NYSC agric oriented .
He described the population structure of the country as an advantage and any nation that has such workforce dominated by youths should be self sufficient in food production.
Adewole, urged government to explore the strength of youths and make food available in the country, adding that a worforce dominated by 60percent of youth, if explored will not only make food available but also export to other nations.
According to him, food sufficiency is the ability of a nation to produce enough food to feed her citizens.
While saying Nigeria is still very far from being food sufficient, Adewole said most of what Nigerians are eating are imported, saying that is why “they give us their waste products as food.
He said farming must be made interesting and worthwhile for the youth to be attracted to it, adding that farming in other nations has become automated.
” For agriculture to be interesting, it must be auto driven. Go to countries like Israel, South Africa, America and so on, they no longer use hoes and cutlass as we do here. Without machine, you can not go into large scale farming and it is only in large scale farming you can make money in agriculture.
“A youth who knows that there are machines to work with and he will make enough money like his counterpart in the oil company or in the banking industry will gladly go into farming. So government must ensure that agricultural practice in the country is auto driven” he said.
Adewole, a chartered accountant called on government to reduce tax on agricultural products so that investors from outside the country can invest in agriculture.
He charged government to subsidise the aspect of lending to reduce the interest on loans for farmer, design a bank for agricultural lending without bottleneck and ensure there is agricultural insurance scheme to mitigate the risk involved.
He equally called on government to enact laws that will make access to land easy for farmers since it is another major problem confronting them.
He however advised federal government to establish farm settlements in the six geo political zones in the country to boost food production.