An agricultural expert, Mrs Yemisi Owoyemi, has called on the Federal Government to prioritise investment in farming for the country to achieve economic growth and development.
Mrs Owoyemi, co-partner of A-Bamisil Farms, an agro-food processing factory in Ekiti State, made the call in Ado-Ekiti while addressing reporters.
She said agriculture remained the only viable launch pad to economic growth, adding that government needed to make a paradigm shift and look beyond crude oil to grow the country’s economy.
She said that agriculture had potentials to boost the country’s economy, barnish hunger and unemployment through food sufficiency and job creation for teeming unemployed youths.
“There is no doubt that agriculture has the capability to turn the economy around by increasing the nation’s export portfolio.
“Every policy maker knows that sooner than later, adequate focus and attention must return to farming. It is reported that agriculture contributed around 21.91 percent to Nigeria’s GDP in 2019. I dare say it has the capacity to contribute even more should there be appropriate focus on agricultural and related activities”, she said.
Mrs Owoyemi said A-Bamisil farms was set up to ensure attainment of food security in Ekiti and help in curtailing poverty and hunger among the people of the state.
She described the factory as a “beacon of hope not only for the Ekiti farmers but also for all Ekiti people”.
Mrs Owoyemi said: “As of now, Bamisil Farms has just acquired more hectares of land to increase production. We are positioning the farm to be one of the leading sources of raw materials for the factory”. Also, the farm has only just acquired sets of agricultural equipment worth millions of naira.
“One of the major benefits of this farm is the employment gains for the people”, she said. “In Nigeria, everyone is running after blue-collar jobs that do not exist. There are large influxes of people into cities around the country; however, there lies abundance of wealth creating opportunities where they left behind.
“Take for instance, in the US, 22.2 million full and part-time jobs related to the agricultural and food sector were created, that’s 10.9 percent of total U.S. employment in 2019. Our farm (Bamisil Farms) is set to boost employment opportunity for the people of Ekiti and environs.
“We are poised to contribute massively to the economic output of Ekiti State. An investment of this magnitude will definitely draw into Ekiti State further investors. it is a chain reaction that Ekiti State must consolidate on”, she said.