Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says agriculture can be a significant contributor to government coffers amid tight fiscal revenue generation, especially in the states of the federation.
Osinbajo’s Spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement said the vice president received on a courtesy visit to the Presidential Villa, a delegation from the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission.
Osinbajo, who spoke after listening to a presentation on the commission’s framework for sustainable agricultural transformation in the states, said all it took was hard work and dedication of all stakeholders in the sector to boost revenue.
“Agriculture can be the solution to a lot of our Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) needs and a lot of our resource needs; it has been proven so many times that it is possible.”
The vice president recalled what was obtainable in the 1950s and 60s in the agricultural sector in the then regional governments.
“The truth of the matter is that the difference between then and now is the political will.
“There is no question at all that there is far more information today than there was then but someone has to have the will to do it.
“There is no question at all that any part of Nigeria, if there is sufficient dedication and hard work, can feed the entire country.
“There are smaller countries not up to the size of one state in Nigeria that are producing enough and exporting produce to other parts of the world.”
Osinbajo also acknowledged the importance of private sector collaboration in transforming agriculture but emphasised the need for stakeholders to focus on research and development.
He said that the progress made by some countries of the world, especially in the area of commercial farming had been hinged on research.
“Obviously, what will take us out of the woods and make us relevant in terms of export and even in terms of satisfying local demands is commercial farming.
“There must be a way of perfecting the value chain and ensure that the value chain actually works.
“Of course, it involves logistics, transportation, and credit facility, among others.
“ A lot more attention needs to be paid to how that value chain works. No matter how much you are producing, if you don’t work on the value chain, you will just be wasting a lot of the resources.”
On government policy, Osinbajo said that a lot of work was being done with agro-export in particular.
The vice president then commended the DAWN Commission for its efforts.
“The work that the commission is doing is seminal.
“ It is work not just for the present but perhaps for the future of the South-West region and of course of the entire nation.’’
During the presentation by the delegation, the role of young people in agriculture was mentioned.
The example of a young agric entrepreneur, who was part of the delegation, CEO of Smart Farm Nigeria, Ms Modupe Oyetoso, came up.
Despite initial setbacks and personal tragedy, Oyetoso persisted and is now thriving in the agriculture sector.
Osinbajo commended the great fortitude that Oyetoso had shown.
“ I must commend you and to say that we are all greatly encouraged by the work that you have done.
“I hope that many hearing your story and the successes that have followed will be encouraged to go into commercial farming,” he said.
Earlier in his remarks, the Director-General of DAWN, Mr Seye Oyeleye, said that the commission had developed blueprints for the development of the health and education sectors in the six states of the South-West.
He also cited the revitalisation of cocoa production and the framework for sustainable agricultural transformation in the region, among achievements recorded by the commission in the nine years of its establishment.