A university don, Prof. Foluke Aderemi has canvassed for an optimum agricultural production level to tackle poverty and food insecurity in the country.
Prof. Aderemi, who is of the Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture, Bowen University,Iwo, Osun State,stated this during the sixth inaugural lecture at the university.
The professor , who lamented the escalating level of poverty in the country, stressed the need for the youth to embrace agriculture as a course of study.
She maintained that with agriculture, the youth could be job creators rather than being job seekers.
She said:”The escalating problem of poverty has become of increasing concern to both the victim nations as well as the international development partners. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO, 2017), the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI, 2017) and the World Food Programme (WFP, 2017) have reported that the largest proportion of the population of Sub-Saharan Africa are highly undernourished.
“The magnitude of poverty in developing countries had contributed immensely to food insecurity in the nation. Nigeria has 36 states and is the most populous country in Africa with a population of about 170 million as of 2012 (Population 2012) with over 70 per cent of the population living on less than a dollar a day (Watts 2006). By the year 2050 the projected population will be 402 million making Nigeria the 4th most populous country on earth after India, China and the United States (Population 2012).
“Agriculture as a course is self-sufficient our youth can take the advantage and become job creator instead of seeking for jobs. We all know in this nation it is not so the simple reason is lack of enabling facilities and environment. Only an optimum agricultural production level will be able to help alleviate poverty, provide food security and meet other needs of such a growing population.
“As Nigeria struggles to advance in animal and crop production many factors militate against this in the country. Factors like inadequate finance, high cost of animal feeds, animal diseases, lack of infrastructure, lack of government incentives, transportation and other factors are militating against animal production in Nigeria. However, solving these problems will promote the animal and crop production.
“The failed policies of the government are most of the times inimical to the progress of the animal industry. Sometimes politicians ban the importation of goods not readily available in the country in an attempt to help home grown industries but without providing viable alternatives”.
She added that annother important area where the government has failed is in the area of security, saying, ” Insecurity in the country is inimical to the development of the animal production and its sustainability and this must not be taken lightly as it has the potential to ground the whole economy”.