The Special Adviser to President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, has urged schools in the country to teach students the importance and rudiments of agricultural Science.Adesina, who was represented by Dr Ayodele Ogunsan, Chairman, Executive Group, made the call on the sideline of an event to commemorate the 2016 World Food Day on Monday in Lagos.
The event: “Annual World Food Day Celebration, Food/Agric Fair and Seminar,’’ was organised by the Gourmet guide on Unilag Radio 103.1FM, Lagos.
It had its theme as: “Diversifying Nigerian Economy: Creating Wealth through Food/Agro Entrepreneurial Skills.’’
According to him, agriculture is the main source of livelihood and the backbone of economic system of a given country.
The theme for this year’s World Food Day which is marked annually on Oct.16, is “Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too.”
“Every year our population grows and economic situations are also becoming stiffer.
“There is need to diversify our source of income; agriculture is a key source, it is where we started from and we need to go back to it.
“We all have to plug into the government’s move and embrace agriculture, especially now that it is our government’s chief focus.
“There is need to revive agriculture in our schools; in the primary and secondary schools, as well as the tertiary institutions.
“Our teachers should tell and teach our youths that agriculture is the bed rock of the Nigerian economy.
“From the formative years, they should be encouraged to do some form of agricultural activity such as farming, weeding, tilling, planting or poultry, or some craft such as weaving baskets, mats or producing broom sticks.
“Schools should be made to have space for gardening or farming practical.
“We should strengthen all agricultural courses, the departments should have qualified teachers who will be adequately motivated, and they should teach our children how to move the agricultural sector forward,’’ he said.
The special adviser urged youths not to depend on white-collar-jobs as their only prospective sources of income and called on banks to create favourable environment for the accessibility of loans for agriculture purposes.
According to him, there is a lot in agriculture that our youth can benefit from.
“Nigerian youths should look inwards and think of the ways to contribute to this present focus on agriculture, by joining agricultural establishments and by setting up farms and poultries.
“They can also think of other initiatives such as better harvesting ways, storage, packing and marketing styles.
“Government and banks should also make loan facilities to be accessible to our youths, such that when they finish from school, they can access such loans.
“There should also be effective system for evaluation and monitoring,’’ Adesina said.
Also, Mrs Lydia Eke, the presenter of Gourment Guide, a one-on-one food programme on UNILAG 103.1 FM, Lagos, said that the importance of food could not be over-emphasised.
According to her, food is one of the basic needs of mankind; it is needed by the human body for strength, prevent ailments, as well as to repair and build cells.
“With the availability of food, more than 90 per cent of our problems will be solved because, poverty and hunger will be reduced, under-nutrition will be reduced and people will have stronger body immunity against diseases.
“So, agriculture is essential because, not only will it give one the avenue to get the necessary food to consume, it will also create an avenue for income,’’ she said.