At a time when the country is reeling from a battered monolithic economy occasioned by falling crude oil prices in the international market among other factors, there appears to be a ray of hope in the area of agriculture, if what is happening at the department of Agriculture at Babcock University is anything to go by.
The director, business investment group, BIG, of the institution, professor Mrs. Yetunde Makinde, told a delegation of National Association of Agricultural Journalists, NAAJ, at a forum in Ilisan-Remo, Ogun state, that Babcock University has entered into a tripartite agreement involving the Danish Government, and the Adventist Church which would revolutionise agriculture and impact investment leading to sustainable development in agricultural business with exceptional employment opportunities and attractive return on investment.
Professor Makinde said, under the Ingrower project worth $2.5million, graduates from the university would be sent to farm settlements, covering about 100hecters of land with 100housing units, where unemployed youths would be trained for a minimum of 18months to produce various Agric products including vegetables and poultry.
“Nigerians will hardly go into anything they are not sure would be successful so we are determined to make this project a success then when that is done we can invite the government to come in. We are already talking to the Ogun state government to give us land to allocate to those we would train in the scheme at affordable prices.”
She said Babcock University has already provided the needed land for the pilot project in Nigeria as 12 states in the country have indicated interest in the Ingrower programme.
Other erudite scholars from the institution also called for; increased budgetary allocations to agriculture, price stabilisation as well as partnership with research institutions and religious organizations in the country to grow the industry.
According to Professor David Daramola, of the Agronomy Department, “Budgetary allocation to agric is very poor, more money should be put into research and technology so that farmers can practice agriculture the modern way. price stability policy must also be entrenched, Ghana took over from Nigeria in the area of cocoa production because of price stabilisation”.
In his speech, Dr. Joshua Adeyeye of the nutrition and Dietetics department decried government’s inability to revive agriculture in the country while blaming the situation on poor leadership ” government is not doing enough in agriculture we need a compassionate leader who has the capability to revive agriculture. Rather than bring in tractors government has been encouraging importation of Okada. Government must be told to entrust money to religious bodies and institutions with integrity to develop agriculture,” he added.