NSPRI, lawmaker train 50 Oyo youth, women in modern agric techniques
NIGERIAN Stored Product Research Institute (NSPRI) with the senator representing Oyo Central senatorial district, Teslim Folarin, have trained 50 youth and women in modern agricultural techniques to ensure increased food production and sufficiency.
The youth were trained in two batches, in a three-day workshop held in Ibadan, Oyo State. They were also provided with empowernment items such as sprayers, preservative drums, hand gloves, seedlings and cash.
Speaking during the programme, Senator Folarin said agriculture is present, past and future essence of our socio-economic life and development.
“Because of the turbulent nature of oil market, there’s need for us to look in the direction of agriculture. Even during lockdown, people still have to eat. 45 to 50 percent of oil is consumed by the aviation industry. So, if the aircraft are not flying, the aviation cannot work to full capacity and there will be crash in the price of oil, which is what has happened now. So, in lockdown or not, flights or no flight, people will still eat. Agriculture is sustainable.
“We keep talking about diversification of our economy, thus, this is the future. For instance, all the development done in the old Western Nigeria was through cocoa and other agric produce. But we became so lazy, and concentrate on receiving cheques from Abuja. But the cheques are now dwindling, that’s the truth of the matter. That the government had to remove subsidy on oil says that it’s no longer sustainable”, he said.
Senator Folarin also said there was no better time than now to acquire skills needed in agribusiness, thus, the reason the NSPRI and other consultants were engaged to train the youth on modern agricultural techniques and business in agriculture.
“Also as part of revamping economic activities of my senatorial district and Oyo State, increasing agricultural production would be targeted for poverty alleviation, job creation, food security and improved livelihood. Therefore, if agriculture is to be used for the development of the state, then concentration must be on modern agricultural techniques and value addition must be put in place to complement agricultural production activities. This way, agriculture will have direct bearing on the economic viability of the zone and be beneficial to the nation”, he said.
Also speaking, the executive director of the NSPRI, Dr. Patricia Pessu, enjoined small scale farmers in the country to form themselves into groups to enable them maximize gains on their harvest.
“You complain that middle men or traders make the big gain on your produce. We pity the farmers because it is sad to see that after much efforts, it is some people reaping the gain. So, in this regard, there’s need for collaboration. Let fish farmers come together, let cassava farmers form their own group and like that, so that any buyer would always look for you before buying and you reap bountifully. This cannot be realized when you do it individually”, she said.
Represented by Dr. Funmilayo Ilesanmi, the executive director said that the institute has the mandate of preserving post harvest crops from getting spoiled, adding that it achieved that with relationship with farmers of different fields.
She commended organisers of the programme for involving more youth than the aged in the programme, saying youth are the leaders of tomorrow.
No experience is lost, she said, adding that knowledge acquired can improve their farming practices and lift them and socio-economic standard of members of their family.
The principal consultant of Synergy Impact Consultants Limited, Dr. Abdulrazaq Yahaya, who said that production of food crops in Nigeria has increased due to recent advocacy for diversification of the economy, however, said that “our farmers could not do well high due to lack of skills especially in the application of modern agricultural techniques. These causes low return for farmers on annual investment, reduced internally generated revenue, low family income and create food scarcity”.
He therefore said that conscientious effort should be employed to ensure that farmers are kept abreast on contemporary ways of practising agriculture.
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