Immediate past governor of Sokoto State, Senator Magatakarda Wamakko has said Agriculture has the potential to instantly revive the prostrate Nigerian economy, urging Nigerians to immediately align with the government’s agenda to revolutionize agriculture in the country.
Wamakko urge Nigerians to start embracing the practice of agriculture first, as an immediate measure for cushioning the effects of harsh economic condition for families and for improving the larger economy in the long run.
He said to fast-track the growth of Agriculture in Nigeria, Institutions, those with means and wherewithal including ex-governors, lawmakers, retired government officials, retired military personnel, owners of thriving businesses and others should begin to invest in production of cash and food crops with targets on export.
The Senator, a large scale farmer said this when some agriculture experts visited his farm in Sokoto, contending that agriculture has the potentials to generate huge foreign exchange to the tune of $150 billion for Nigeria yearly if the right targets are set for export by the government through mechanized farming.
He said the current efforts by the government towards economy diversification is anchored principally on agriculture to ensure self sustaining growth in all the sub-sectors of agriculture and the structural transformation necessary for the overall socio-economic development of the country.
The government’s policy on agriculture, Wamakko reasoned, is to largely encourage diversification of the country’s export base and sources of foreign exchange earnings, describing it as the right step towards improving the quality of life of Nigerians.
He said for the policy to work, and for Nigeria to move away from its comfort zone of overdependence on oil resources, the citizens must trace their steps back to agriculture in which case, every family with means must tend farms to grow food, at least for their consumption as the case was before the advent of oil.
The Senator described availability of food as the first victory any family could attain over poverty, stating that those who learn to practice subsistent farming would later grow to be mechanized farmers and earners of foreign exchange for Nigeria.
He said, “We (farmers) are already looking toward to very good harvest this year. This will give us food and in addition, leaves us with the chance to generate funds. Farming is good. It strengthens the body and soul. It is a provider of fortune. I recommend farming to Nigerians, most especially those in the public and private sector who should be contributing to the plans to re-grow national economy.
The Senate Committee Chairman on Education, however, urged the Federal Government to partner with established farmers in Nigeria, while laying emphasis on research aimed towards mordernisation of agriculture production, storage and distribution with improved technologies and management.
He also urged the government to copy the model of agriculture development from China, India, United States, Brazil and others, which he said had made agriculture the main stay of their economies with mass employment generation and huge foreign exchange earnings.