VICTOR OGUNJE, Ado-Ekiti
The Minister of Agriculture, Dr Akinwumi Adesina , has scored President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration high in the area of Agriculture, saying a total of 6,618 well educated youths have been trained in mechanized Farming.
The Minister said Jonathan’s administration is already tapping into commercial agriculture as a way of diversifying the economy from Oil in view of the precarious situation of the economy occasioned by dwindling fortunes of the oil price in the international market.
Speaking at a programme organized for the students of Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti by a non-governmental organization named United Mandate, Adesina said the Federal Government is committed to reigniting agriculture to be the backbone of the economy as witnessed in the past.
The Southwest Programme Officer of the NgO, Mr Femi Lawson said the organization in partnership with the Federal Government has staged the programme in 12 tertiary institutions for the graduating students to be aware of the initiative and key into it.
Adesina, who was represented by Mr Blaise Ogbozor, a Higher Executive Officer in the Ministry, however , expressed regret over the cynicism being displayed by large number of youths, whom he accused of expressing apathy to some of the new initiatives.
The Minister boasted that some of the beneficiaries of the programmes, whom he said received large amount of money as take-off grant from the Federal Government would be shakers and movers of the country’s economy in a decade.
The Minister said President Jonathan won’t wait for oil to dry off before diversifying the economy, saying the new initiative would bring back the old glory in the Agriculture sector.
He said: “In the past, agriculture was the backbone of the economy of this country until recently when oil was discovered and the sector was abandoned. But the coming of Jonathan’s administration has revived the old glory in the sector.
“Youths that had long abandoned the sector are now being encouraged. Youths are the drivers of any economy because they have energy and the initiative as well as the education to drive any business and that is why Jonathan’s administration is tapping into commercial farming where they can be employers of labour and contribute to the economy of this nation.
“It is wrong for the youths to leave agriculture for the old people to manage. We are encouraging them to take over and with the spate we have reached, they have taken over because they will now be operating beyond subsistence means.”