A professor of agronomy at the University of Ibadan, Gideon Adeoye, has urged the Federal Government to encourage graduates to embrace farming after the mandatory national youth service by giving them land and loans.
The agronomist said doing this would boost food production and prevent the nation from wasting huge funds on food importation, especially with the economy in limbo.
Adeoye said this on Thursday at the Bowen University, Iwo during the second annual conference of Biochar Initiative of Nigeria under the theme, ‘Biochar Technology: Potential for sustainable food security and cleaner environment.’
He said, “The Federal Government should give some portions of land and revolving funds to graduates in order to allow them to practise agriculture after the National Youth Service Corps. This will lure many youths into agriculture and it will boost food production locally.”
He also urged the government to revive the farm settlement policy of the Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo which he said ensured food was produced abundantly then.
He said, “We don’t have a standing policy on agriculture that can get this country out of this mess. Climate change is posing a lot of danger and the government of the day has not come up with anything.
“Large areas in Erimo, Oyo State, where rice was grown in bounty quantities during the days of Awolowo have since been nullified. Farm settlement policy of Awolowo first suffered a blow when government started taking over farmlands to construct houses. Except the government goes back to what have been nullified, I don’t see anything coming from agriculture in this country.”
Adeoye also said activities of some herdsmen which had led to the destruction of farms were enough to scare away interested persons from investing in agriculture.
He also said the Nigerian government was not doing enough to upscale the standards of agriculture.
The President of Biochar Initiative of Nigeria, Dr. John Fagbenro, stated that biochar was a material that could be found anywhere, stressing that biochar, unlike the inorganic fertilizers, renewed itself when applied to the soil from time to time.
But he said the technology used in the application of the carbon-rich charcoal-like powder was new in this part of the world, saying the BIN committee was working towards familiarising people in the locality with it.
The Vice Chancellor of Bowen University, Prof. Matthews Ojo, advised farmers in Iwo to embrace the biochar initiative, which he said could help in boosting food production in the town.
He said the soil in Iwo was sandy and rocky, saying a chunk of the Iwo people tilled the overused land, which could hardly produce good yields but he said their produce would increase drastically with the application of biochar