By Maxwell Adeyemi Adeleye
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, has advised Nigerian youths to explore potentials in the agriculture sector for job and wealth creation in the country.
Oba Ogunwusi gave the advice while addressing the participants at Ife Youth agro-preneurship Summit 2016 and presentation of Ojaja II Agricultural Hub on Thursday, Ile-Ife, Osun.
He said that once the youths are empowered, especially in the area of value chain and agro-processing development, the entire society will start moving towards a brighter tomorrow.
According to him, the community, state and the nation at large will be freed from poverty, hunger and unemployment.
The royal father enjoined Nigerian leaders to empower youth on agropreneurship such as cassava, maize processing, aquaculture and fish farming, mushroom cultivation, plantain processing among others.
He condemned Nigerians patronising imported goods such as: wears, food, shelters, shoes and the likes.
The monarch said that Nigeria has many products that can sustain the economy rather than over dependent on crude oil.
“Our leaders needs to live by example; by promoting made in Nigeria goods, as it is said charity begins at home, this would boost the nation’s economy and Internally Generated Revenue,” Ooni said.
Oba Adeyeye said that the nation is blessed with good soil, minerals, raw materials and cash crops such as cocoa, kola nut, plantain, cashew, and ginger among others.
The monarch noted that Ile-Ife is the largest producer of cocoa in Nigeria.
He appealed to people to stop blaming leaders for the economic recession, but to support them by contributing their quota to the development of the nation.
Ooni called on legislators to make laws that will promote Nigeria products, adding that the nation has alternative products that cannot be affected by dollar.
He assured that if the youths can agree to go back to farm, within the next five to six years the Ife community will become biggest economic city in Nigeria.
Earlier, the Chief Executive Officer, Hephzibah Network, Mr Olamide Awosunle, said that the purpose of the programme was to transform the lives of the youths and to give hope to the hopeless.
Awosunle said that youths did not need to depend on government for survival but to utilise the potential in them to live a meaningful life.
He said all hands should be on deck to add value to the numerous agricultural products God blessed Ile-Ife with, saying that agro-processing is the way out for them.
He said that more than 150 jobs would be provided through agro-processing programme for youths in the community.
Also, Mrs Ruth Kadafa, from Department of Agro-Processing, Bank of Industry, Abuja, commended the organisers of the programme, saying it was timely.
Kadafa urged youths to change their mentality of depending on government for white collar job.
She encouraged youths to go into agriculture rather than allowing politicians to use them as political thugs.
Meanwhile, Prof Duro Oyedele of the Faculty of Agriculture, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, enjoined politicians to stop empowering youths with tricycles and Okada alone.
Oyedele said that youths should rather invest on agro-processing that is sustainable than Okada that is not sustainable.
He added that Ile-Ife, Osun and Nigeria produce a lot of cassava, plantain, vegetables, cashew, kolanut among others, saying youth should utilise their potentials to achieve greatness.