I’m A ‘Mad Man’ For Agriculture – Obasanjo

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Nigeria’s former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has described himself as a ‘mad man’ while expressing his passion for agriculture.

In his address at the 9th International Trade Exhibition & Conference on Agrofood, Plastics, Printing, and Packaging in Lagos on Tuesday, Obasanjo stressed the need to promote agribusiness for food security, employment, and wealth creation, among other things.

Commenting on the disturbing rise of insecurity in the country, the former president noted that unemployment is a key factor contributing to the rising spate of banditry and kidnappings in Nigeria.

Obasanjo emphasized that encouraging more young people to engage in agriculture is a crucial strategy for addressing youth emigration, unemployment, and insecurity.

He expressed concern that Nigerian youths tend to gravitate towards the entertainment industry instead of considering opportunities in agriculture, highlighting the importance of making the agricultural sector more appealing.

He said, “Of course, if we are able to achieve this, it will improve our security. Part of our insecurity is men and women that are not properly engaged.

“If we are able to give them employment, there will be less of them getting involved in banditry, in kidnapping and in doing various other criminal activities that they get involved in.”

Obasanjo stressed the need to promote agribusiness for food security, nutrition security, employment, wealth creation, poverty elimination, and income generation, particularly foreign exchange.

He noted that the drive toward food security in the country must encapsulate food availability, affordability and accessibility.

“A friend of mine said to me, you must be a madman. I asked him what he meant, and he said if I was not a madman, I would not have gone into agriculture. So, I am a madman for agriculture. When it has to do with agriculture, you can be sure that when you call me, I will answer.

“Food security starts with availability. We must be able to produce enough. Then there is affordability. We must be able to get everybody who needs food to be able to get the food that they need. Then there is accessibility. We must get food to where it is needed.

“Almost 40 per cent of our food go to waste after cultivation. So, food security and nutrition security makes agribusiness important,” Vanguard quoted the former president saying.

Obasanjo emphasized the importance of policymakers at all levels ensuring policy consistency, which would enable farmers to establish both short and long-term targets without concerns about abrupt policy changes that could disrupt their plans.

Additionally, the former president highlighted the significance of providing single-digit loans to farmers, as agribusinesses cannot generate profitable outcomes when burdened with double-digit interest rates.

He said, “First is employment, with our teeming population and the problem we have with our youths going over the desert and risking their lives at the Mediterranean will stop. What can we do to give them enough employment at home?

“The area that is sure to provide employment for our teeming youth population is agriculture. When you talk about agriculture, not many of them will want to come to the farm, they will rather go into the music that they do now.

“We have to make agriculture glamorous because these youths, they make money that way (through music), and then you are asking them to come to the farm. They won’t want to.”

The post I’m A ‘Mad Man’ For Agriculture – Obasanjo appeared first on Naija News.

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