Invest in technology to boost food production-Agricultural Economists urge Tinubu

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Prof. Job Nmadu President and Fellow, Nigerian Association of Agricultural Economists has called on the Federal Government to continue to provide enabling environment for businesses to thrive.

He made the call at the 23rd conference of the association in Kwara.

Nmadu said it was important for government to intensify effort in boosting businesses particularly small scale businesses.

According to him, the cost of
running business in Nigeria continued to soar owing to
deficient power supply.

“Over the last ten years, many small businesses have folded up.

“Also, the lifespan of equipment get shortened due to lack of spare parts and the farms are not well
managed because the cost of input is far beyond what small
farmers can cope with.

“Agricultural industry needs to
contribute more to GDP but not by land and labour extensification but with better and improved technology.

“The proposed 70,000ha dry season production of wheat should
be reconsideredb and I would rather that the fund be used to fund
research to produce high-yielding wheat varieties that are adapted to small scale production.

“Better research results have more
beneficial impacts that impulse-initiated emergency programmes,”he said.

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He said the conference provided an opportunity for stock-taking and brainstorming on recent and upcoming agricultural policies as they affect farming and agricultural enterprises.

“It is also an opportunity for members to foster greater spirit of collaboration and ‘researchmanship’ for
sustainable agricultural production and productivity.

“We are hopeful that the economy will breathe, the poor will breathe and there will be milk of human kindness such that the economy will return to the path of recovery,
progress and prosperity.

On the theme of the conference “Competitive Agricultural industry: Policies, Designs and Infrastructure” the president said it was topical in view of the need to run agricultural business profitably in spite of souring inflation.

He added that the topic was relevant in view of “souring prices of farm inputs particularly imported ones, weakened national currency, disjointed and uncoordinated
policies, weak political and governance institutions among others.

“The need for us to investigate all these issues makes this theme
topical.

“We must as a nation, start building structures and institutions that are enduring and are not subject to political changes if we must develop an agricultural industry that is competitive and profitable and sustainable.

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On the need to inculcate Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness in schools’ curriculum, the president said, “the Core Curriculum Minimum Academic Standards
(CCMAS) has now become official.

“This offers great opportunity
for us to raise change agents through the new Programmes.

“We appreciate the efforts of Prof. Chinedum Nwajiuba of
National Universities Commission and Prof. A. L Kehinde
of Osun State University for representing Agricultural
Economics well in the Committee that developed the CCMAS.

“For the first time, Agricultural Economics is now a
Programme not an appendage and not only that, we now also
have a new programme, Agribusiness.

“This is in line with our discourse in this conference and I call on all Heads of Department to immediately initiate and seek Senate approval to run the two programmes.

“That would expand admission
quota and also provide opportunity for prospective students
to be exposed to the emerging trends and issues like e-
commerce, e-marketing among others.

He said as part of effort to expand its scope and expertise, the National Executive Council (NEC) of the association had
approved the “Award of Fellows” and made some people Life Members of the association.

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The fellows according to him are Dr. Grace Evbuomwam Augustine University Lagos, Prof. Gabriel Umoh University of Uyo annd Prof. Abayomi Omotesho, University of Ilorin.

Others according to him are Prof. Jude Mbanasor Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike.

Nmadu commended Ministries, Departments and Agencies(MDAs) Non-Governmental
Organisations(NGOs) and international partners for supporting the association.

He called for the first reading of the Draft Bill for the Establishment of the Nigerian Institute of Agricultural Economics and approval of Agricultural Economics as a profession.

He thanked the Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq for recognising agribusiness as one of the pillars of his administration.

Nmadu assured the governor of the association’s readiness to offer technical advise on building sustainable agribusiness in
Kwara State and in Nigeria at large.

He also commended the Acting Vice Chancellor, Kwara State University, Prof. Shaykh Luqman Jimoh, while commiserating with the Government and people of Kwara State on the passing of
Prof. Muhammad Akanbi, the second Vice Chancellor
of the University.

The president also  thanked the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu Gambari, Kwara State Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mrs Oloruntoyosi Thomas.

 

 

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