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Agriculture remains fastest means of job creation, says TETFund boss

By Kanayo Umeh, Abuja
14 July 2022   |   2:44 am
The Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Sonny Echono, has reiterated the importance of agriculture in addressing unemployment, poverty and food shortage in Nigeria.

[FILES] Agriculture

The Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Sonny Echono, has reiterated the importance of agriculture in addressing unemployment, poverty and food shortage in Nigeria.

Echono stated this in Abuja on Wednesday, during the vice chancellors’ roundtable on the implementation of the Agricultural Research and Innovation Fellowship for Africa (ARIFA) in Nigeria with the theme, ‘Building the Post-vicosa Symposium Action Plan.”

The TETFund boss enjoined vice-chancellors to put more effort into actualisation of agriculture transformation while urging them to operationalise the centres of excellence as soon as possible.

He said: “My charge to you is to make this a personal mission because I’m very confident that if we 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 we should find modern ways of doing things that will significantly improve revenue, because as the yield increases, of course, revenue increases and it makes it more attractive.

“As we adopt new technologies, develop our mechanisation and irrigation, we will find opportunities through commercial agriculture and we will be able to absorb the graduates that will produce because, if you notice, more than 60 per cent 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 produce.

“But as we develop the sector, the demand for personnel in that sector will increase and we will be in a position to also improve our revenue.

“There are countries that depend solely on agriculture and they are doing very well and it is the one resource that God has blessed us.

“I enjoin you to take this message and take this issue very seriously. There may be a few mistakes along the line, but we should correct ourselves. We should operationalise the centres of excellence as quickly as we can,” the ES added.

Also speaking, the Executive Secretary of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), Dr Yemi Akinbamijo, said the workshop was to have an internationalisation process, saying that the outcomes from the meeting would feed into Post-Viçosa Symposium Action Plan, holding at University of Lagos from July 14 to 16.

He said the meeting would focus on priority areas of demand for increased capacity in STEM and the establishment of innovation platforms, among others.