Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State has urged the Federal Government to declare state of emergency in agriculture to boost revenue.
Fayose, who spoke while declaring open the four-day Agriculture Summit 2016, said the emergency must be in the critical sectors of the economy.
He said, “If a nation doesn’t have a change of attitude, there is nothing like diversification. Nigeria deserves leaders not rulers. We must drop the attitude to bring people down.
“Salaries are not enough to pay workers. It is sad that the state government can’t diversify again because they are financially incapacitated. State cannot fund agriculture because they are under perpetual bailout.
“The federal government should declare a state of emergency in agriculture. Not a state of emergency that you want to remove the governor. We must use the power given to us by the constitution for the people and not against the people.”
The Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, said the government was making efforts to diversify the economy from a monolithic economy based on oil.
Ogbeh, who was represented by a Director in the ministry, Mr Kolade Oladipo, said, “A nation that cannot feed his people is a failed state. Nigeria can’t afford to be among this therefore the need to reorientate the people.”
In his keynote address, the founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, Afe Babalola (SAN), called for agricultural revolution that will bring about political and economic stability.
“The old system of using the hoe and cutlass for farming is most detestable. Politics is now seen as more lucrative than any other decent jobs in Nigeria. Hence people prefer it to farming.
“The banks have not made business venture easy in the Nigeria with interest rate of over 20 per cent. Bank interest rate on loans have hit the roof to a point beyond which no investor can venture into agriculture with bank loan and end up with any profit at the end of the day.
“To cap the problems of agriculture confronting the nation is the absence of storage facilities for perishable agricultural products.”
Babalola advocated that agricultural science should be taught as a compulsory subject in elementary and secondary schools.
He also suggested that students taking agriculture course should be given 50 per cent reduction in tuition as done in ABUAD.
“Families must be encouraged to come together and combine their lands to generate a large scale industrial farming,” he added.
The summit has “Rebirth of sustainable agriculture: exploring new investment frontiers in wealth creation” as its theme.