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Expert lists factors driving citizens from agriculture

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The challenges of unemployment, urban migration, excessive dependence on oil and poor living standard of Nigerians have been listed as factors responsible for the neglect of agric sector.

Managing Director/CEO of Bama Farms, Prince Wale Oyekoya, who disclosed this in Lagos, also identified unavailability of timely and affordable credit for farmers, as factors discouraging citizens to practice farming.
 
“In my view, one of the most serious problems of food and agriculture in Nigeria is leadership.  Food and agricultural industrialisation and privatisation are supposed to eradicate global hunger and poverty, but the reverse is the case in Nigeria.

“Our commercial banks need to be restructured and mandated to fund real farmers and not political farmers. To ensure that the policies succeed, government needs to ensure adequate budgetary allocation of at least 10 per cent of the nation’s budget; review subsisting schemes and reforms to make them more supportive of farm output.  No farmer can survive under the current commercial interest rate of over 26 per cent,” he said.
 
He said: “The state and local governments have to complement Federal Government’s efforts by developing agriculture in all their senatorial districts, by releasing land for farming, providing tractors to clear the land, plant, and apply herbicides and insecticide and for harvesting in form mechanised farming.

“States should encourage cottage industries in the senatorial districts to process our farm produce, where the youth can participate in the value chain, marketing, distribution and export. Storage facilities and electricity in these industrial hubs is a necessity.


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Prince Wale Oyekoya
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