The Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund TETFund, Sonny Echono has reemphasized the importance of agriculture in addressing unemployment in Nigeria.
Echono stated this in Abuja, during the Vice-Chancellors roundtable on the implementation of Agricultural Research and Innovation Fellowship for Africa (ARIFA) in Nigeria with the theme, ‘building the post-vicosa symposium action plan.”
The TETFund boss enjoined the Vice Chancellors to put more energy into the actualisation of agriculture transformation in the country.
He said, “My charge to you is to make this a personal mission because I’m very confident that if will get it right in agriculture in this country half of our problems will be solved because it is the easiest means of creating jobs.
“Most of those who are being recruited into banditry, who are being recruited into the insurgency, if they are able to work on the land they will perhaps prefer to do that.
“And if we can find modern ways of doing things that will significantly improve revenue because as the yield increase, of course, revenues increases and it makes it more attractive.
“As we adopt new technology, develop our mechanization and irrigation we will found opportunities through commercial agriculture and we will be able to absorb the graduates that will produce because most of the issue if you notice, more than 60 percent of those who graduate with agriculture go on to do other things with their lives because we don’t have commercial farming that can absorb this workforce we produced.
“But as we develop the sector, then the demand for personnel in that sector will increase and we will be in a position to also improve our revenue”.
He added that Nigeria can learn a lot from Brazil through partnership given their track record in the area of agriculture, saying that everything is built through national food security and it is the responsibility of all stakeholders to ensure that it happens.
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary of Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo said the body plans a workshop to focus on priority areas of demand for increased capacity in STEM, the establishment of innovation platforms, among others.
Writing by Daniel Adejo