Monday, 8 August 2016

The Need to get back to Agriculture and Making it a Self Sustaining Business

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The Need to get back to Agriculture and Making it a Self Sustaining Business

It affords a great pleasure at the primus of my understanding that I will through this blog engagement provoke deep deliberation on making agriculture a self sustaining business in Nigeria. One, I am delighted the topic is coming at a time Nigeria and Nigerians have discovered the need to diversify our economy and ensure a radical shift from the oil sector while growing the non-oil sector which proves to be more sustainable and reliable. Two,
this write-up will afford me the opportunity to relate with many friends of Agriculture as we seek to jointly proffer solution to our most cogent need as a nation. On this note I wish this short write-up herald great discussion to further illuminate the topic and provoke corresponding action in the heart of the audience.
It is no more an argument lost that agriculture is fundamental to every country’s prosperity, security and sovereignty. To enjoy economic prosperity and sovereignty a nation must above all be able to reach a stage of sufficiency in food production and also make money through export. This was the reality in the 1960’s before the discovery of oil. Nigeria was sufficient in food and large exportation of agricultural products and raw materials gave the country a balance of trade--surplus and a very balanced economy with a stable and strong currency. You would recall that Nigeria pound was greater than the US dollar in the 60’s. The discovery of oil basically changed the permutation as farmers and farming was ignored, yields stagnated, extension services faded away, rural community slid into poverty and a once strong nation became a food importing country, spending an average of $11B importing wheat, rice, sugar and fish annually yet we have an abundance of resources – 84 million hectares of arable land, two of largest Africa’s rivers and great population.

The above facts while currently a challenge becomes great opportunity for business minded individuals who wants to make a living while also contribution to the economic recovery of a nation in recession. Nigeria is a country with enormous potential for agricultural growth, yet one where food insecurity and malnutrition are widespread and persistent, and to succeed in business, But potential alone is not enough; we have to find a way to unlock it. We needed a major transformation of our agricultural sector. The change had to be across the entire value chain – from field to mill to table.

To make agriculture therefore a self sustaining venture we must  stop looking at agriculture as a government-run, charitable development program across rural Nigeria. We must treat agriculture as a business. A business where people invest money and energy and expect return. This will not make it only sustainable but also create jobs, solve security problems arising from embarrassing statistics of youth unemployment. 

Government’s role is simple: to create the enabling environment, policies and incentives for a private sector-led transformation to flourish. Government should also in their part create an ecosystems in which small, medium and large-scale farmers would not only co-exist, but flourish together.

Every year, the World Fortune Magazine, Forbes, rolls out the list of world leading billionaires and agriculture has remained a leading contributor and hot point. This simply means agriculture, like all other businesses, present potential for wealth creation and the motivation of the potency of it to create wealth will make us not only invest our energy but capital towards making agriculture a sustainable venture. 
Bureaucracy of export association must also be broken to make availability of market easier for investors. This means, when intent to farm meets capital and great environment created by government and also a market to sell and make profit from investment, agriculture will become a self sustaining venture.

Conclusively, please note that farming is not poverty. It’s our mentality that leaves us with hoe. You can’t succeed beyond your thinking. We all need to see Agriculture as a tool that is capable of liberating us from the cackles and manacles of poverty we find ourselves as a nation.

Not everybody likes brewery. Some enjoy it by direct investment by consuming it. Some others leveraged the opportunities along the line. Some loose, some gain. For agriculture, both are jackpot of fortune. Join the green community today. Connect to progress by planting a seed of your idea. You are sure to enjoy the shared-prosperity. 

I therefore congratulate you, my readers. I am greatly blessed to have met you.Let us turn our challenges into opportunities, consider the weaknesses we have as a motivations and together build a Nation that is safe for our present generation and the generations to come.

Fasakin Aduragbemi Victor is Agribusiness Development Consultant and you can reach him via the contact below:

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