Saturday, 12 December 2015


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder? But how can many do not see the vast beauty Agriculture possess? Since when has blindness (or should I say neglect) become a virtue? We’ve so together as a nation gradually kick agriculture into irrelevance. Nigeria is fighting hunger but still abhors the only cure – robust agriculture. Bruce Benton remarked, “sometimes when I consider what tremendous consequences come from little things, I’m tempted to think - there are no little things”. Nigeria’s economy is a perfect example of what great pain can come from a little reckless abandon. Nigerians have been consistent in very few things, sucking life out of agriculture is the chief of them.

Whenever agriculture is mentioned, people quickly conjure large expanse of land filled with numerous poorly dressed people and wilting crops and sickly animals where people work and work until they break their backs! A few others will quickly say “God forbid!| as if the mere mention of agriculture brings eternal damnation. Nowadays, an alternative way of cursing any Nigerian “you dey mad” is to say “may you study agriculture!” Growing up, I had thought that a celestial warning has been issued to all, tagging agriculture a different sin. One of the backwardness that has been registered in this age is the fact that some children believe that food comes from either the microwave or the sparely stocked stores lying in our streets. They think the only thing beneath the earth is hell fire and not agricultural product. How sad! A second year university student once said that she thought onions grew on tree because something so beautiful could not have come from beneath the ground.

Do you remember the children fable about the ugly duckling? (One of the very few that didn’t breed nightmare). It told of a duck that have six beautiful yellow ducklings and an ugly grey one. The ugly one was picked on by all other ducklings because it was so different. Sometime later, all the ducklings were grown and along come a flock of beautiful swans. How the ugly duckling adored them! Then it suddenly looked into the water and was shocked by what it saw. It was not, ugly afterall! So, it realized that it was simply uniquely beautiful. From thence, things changed for the duckling which has been made to believe that it was poorly patterned

This fable perfectly describe the Nigeria situation.
Agriculture for a long time has been made, to look ugly and thus, beaten to a place lesser than the background. All we see anytime we dare to look at agriculture is dirt, sweat and sand. Everyone has lost out by this seeming callousness. All these grandiose sickly effect stem from just one cause; IGNORANCE!
How many times have undergraduates of agriculture been looked down on as if by studying agriculture they’ve committed murder!
In this vein, our government has not helped. Our nation’s get-rich-quick drive has sunk us father into debt than wealth.
Posterity has been cheated out of value creation. Without putting them in a classroom, we’ve taught them that agriculture is bad luck, farming is evil, Animal husbandry is backwardness, conserving nature is a waste of time and caring about the soil is a pathetic science.

I once met a young lady who thought the only thing that come from leaves was marijuana (Igbo). How myopic Hmm! Agriculture is beautiful! Let’s start to look at the water of reason and see that agriculture is a cure to our many national sore. We don’t have the luxury of time anymore to nurture half baked thought about agriculture. Nigeria and Nigerians should actively participate in this escapade to harness the blessedness in agriculture. Tell younger generations the balanced stories about agriculture.

We have the responsibility to feed our exploding population. Importation is not a remedy. Hunger is not an option.
When you tell posterity about the sweat and stress of planting, don’t forget to add the joy of harvesting.
The next time you complain about the crude nature of farming, please, don’t forget to add that agriculture can be mechanized.

A collective effort from the government and Nigerians towards agriculture will go a long in curbing hunger, creating jobs, sustaining nature and building a formidable economy.
Healing is a matter of time, but it is also a matter of opportunity. Thank God we have the two!
Let’s take the time ad grab the opportunity to heal our minds, economy and nation. Thoreau once said “I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavour”
All hands on deck, all brains in gear!
The future is green! I hope you can see!

pulished in THE AGRICULTURIST MAGAZINE, 2015 edition.

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