Agric business only solution to Nigeria’s economic crisis – Obasanjo

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By; Bayo Akamo, Ibadan.
Former President, Chief  Olusegun Obasanjo on Saturday declared that agriculture remains the only way out of present economic crises facing Nigeria.
Chief Obasanjo stated this in Ibadan while delivering the maiden Eminent Persons Business Lecture, titled “Agribusiness: TIME TO ACT IS NOW” organized by the University of Ibadan School of Business with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).
The former President said the time has come for the present administration in the country to take agriculture business serious in the overall interest of the country’s economy, saying, the fall in prices of oil at the world market may be a blessing in disguise.
According to the former President, for Nigeria to overcome the economic hardship, collapse in businesses, and the other challenges now facing the country, all hands must be on deck to practically embrace agriculture and not just on papers.
Emphasizing that agricbusiness has the needed potentials to stimulate industrialization and economic growth in Nigeria, the former President noted that the importance of agriculture in the areas of economic growth and development and wealth creation cannot be overlooked.
Obasanjo noted that if truly the present government in the country “is determined to diversify the economy through agriculture”, it should without wasting time, practically make agriculture a major source of revenue by treating farming as a business and also be ready to give attention to agriculture at the high level of government and incorporate all departments, ministries and agencies of government in the agricultural sector and not just the Ministry of agriculture to make their responsibilities complementary and not competitive.
Speaking further, Chief Obasanjo who advocated adequate provision of infrastructure for storage and transportation of agricultural produce, said “Agric business must be attractive to youths and students should be encouraged”.
“We have to glamorize agric business and that is why I say wherever I go I called myself a farmer, if a former President can call himself a farmer why can’t we call ourselves a farmer. Adequate support must be given to agriculture to search for innovation, we must give incentives to farmers,”he said.
The former President also posited that there must be consistency in government policy formation and ensure its sustainability.
The former President who concluded that the individuals and private sector cannot succeed in agriculture without government support therefore solicited full support of government at all levels to practically embrace and encourage agriculture.
“Your excellencies and Ladies and gentlemen, let me conclude that while agric business cannot be practice without government support, a good policy must be put in place to support and encourage agriculture”.

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