The aim of this piece is not to argue the affirmative of agriculture superiority over other fields, no! Neither is it to blame oil for our economic ruin. It is to bring to the awareness of the individual and society the common cord that bind us. And to also point out that neither is oil a curse nor agriculture crude. Hear me out!
Needless to mention, agriculture is still in its basest form in Nigeria. One would expect that for a discipline that is somewhat the foundation of this country's economic muscle, it would be the primary revenue source, but the reverse is what's seen.
A continuous and consistent decline of development, attention and preference has since be notice. Many blame this on leadership, some believe it is the advent of oil and another group point their finger at the unpreparedness of Nigeria and Nigerians for independence. 1.7%,1.44%and 0.97% were allocated to agriculture in 2013 ,2014, 2015 respectively. you see a sickly decrease in allocation to agriculture ? This has gone far in cutting down the effectiveness of agricultural research institute. Amount allocated to fertilizer distribution as well as production has also reduced for 2015. The former minister of agriculture Dr. Akinwumi adesina has since promised that agriculture will soon become the mainstay of Nigeria economy . Well, we still await performance.
Various agricultural development programs have been and their failure were almost immediate. The likes of operation feed the nation, green revolution, to mention a few failed almost as fast as the termination of the audacious government that created them.
In Nigeria , there are over 167 million people , 84million hectares of arable land but only less than 10% is cultivated we are blessed with adequate rainfall rivers and stream we still fight hunger and spend billions on food importation. I think its high time for a break out!
Did you ever watch that blockbuster movie, prison break? Ok, let me tell it. It was about a guy that was falsely accused of murder of the brother to the vice president and he was placed on death row, well he had a younger brother a brilliant structural engineer who believed that his brother Lincoln was innocent. And was determined to break him out. Now, this is the interesting part! Michael had to go into false river penitentiary to break Lincoln out, and he did!
Crude oil came as a help meet to agriculture. But Nigerians has placed it in the prison of overdependence, behind the bars of greed with political gluttons as warders. It is common to hear nowadays people praying and wishing for the death of oil because of its misuse. Some even call it a curse. Life has been suckled from the veins of oil by punitive rulers with fat straws in both hands. Now oil needs help! Oil needs a brilliant Michael(Agricultural sector and non-oil sector) to break it out. I heard a man said one time, "oil has been sentenced to death and falsely for that matter. Only agriculture can break it out!".
I don't subscribe to the argument that oil is at fault. Nigerians have a management problem, not an oil or agriculture problem. One of the major alternatives of every responsible and responsive government should embrace is attention to agriculture and non-oil sector. At a time like, we should all learn to be responsible husbandmen to Nigeria by giving it a vine - agriculture and branches - oil and non-oil sector. As TY Bello rightly sang, "the future is now". Pick your brain and muscles and get to work!
The future is green; I hope you can see!
pulished in THE AGRICULTURIST MAGAZINE, 2015 edition.