Economic Diversification: Nigeria must see agriculture as profitable venture – IAR&T Director

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By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan.
Executive Director of the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan Professor James Adediran on Tuesday said for Nigeria to diversify its economy, agriculture must be seen as a profitable venture in the country.
Professor Adediran stated this at the opening of the 2016 stakeholders training workshop on Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM) of South-West, South-South soil health consortium held at the IAR&T training hall.
He declared that for the government at all levels to diversify the economy through agriculture and stop rural-urban migration, all efforts must be put in place to ensure that soils are well managed and provide proven technologies for farmers to alleviate poverty.
The IAR&T Executive Director pointed out that as at present, there have been decline in soil fertility in the South western part of the country leading to crop low yields and low productivity of farmers
“All the scientific evidence indicates that on SW, SS and SE depleted soils, production cannot be increased without supplementing the farm nutrients from outside either through livestock manure or mineral fertilizer,”he said.
Professor Adediran emphasized that “to stop rural urban migration and diversify Nigerian economy, agriculture must be seen as a profitable venture” saying,“ this is only possible if our soils are properly managed and proven technologies gets to farmers to alleviate poverty. This is the essence of this project which aims to increase uptake of ISFM technologies in order to improve farmers’ livelihoods”.
He however stressed the need for the use of livestock manure and mineral fertilizer on soils by farmers in South-West, South-East and South-South regions as a way of increasing production in these areas.
“Production cannot be increased without supplementing the farm nutrients from outside either through livestock manure or mineral fertilizer. Fertilizer application rates in SW are very small (10-20 kg/ha), far below the target of 50 kg/ha set by the Abuja Declaration and smaller compared with application rates in regions more economically developed countries.
The Director also recommended proper crop management practices such as the use of appropriate varieties, land preparation, spacing, planting dates, weed, pest and disease management practices as ways of referterlilization of the soils to increase production in the above stated regions.
“It is towards the realization of these noble objectives that Nigerian Soil Health Consortium seeks to promote the use of ISFM technologies to boost crop production while sustainably intensifying land use.”

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