Former Governor of Sokoto State, Senator Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko, has charged wealthy Nigerians, including governors, lawmakers, military personnel, owners of thriving businesses and others to invest in production of cash and food crops.He said this would facilitate the quick exit of Nigeria from economic recession.
Wamakko, who stated this when some agriculture experts visited his farm in Sokoto, contended that agriculture has the potential to generate huge foreign exchange to the tune of $150 billion for Nigeria yearly if the right targets are set for export by the government through mechanised farming.
He said current efforts by the government towards economy diversification is anchored principally on agriculture to ensure self-sustaining growth in all the sub-sectors of agriculture and the structural transformation necessary for the overall socio-economic development of the country.
The former governor said for government’s policy on agriculture to work, and for Nigeria to move away from its comfort zone of over-dependence on oil resources, the citizens must trace their steps back to agriculture in which case, every family with means must tend farms to grow food, at least for their consumption as the case was before the advent of oil.
He, however, described availability of food as the first victory any family could attain over poverty, stating that those who learnt to practice subsistence farming would later grow to be mechanised farmers and earners of foreign exchange for Nigeria.
He said: “We (farmers) are already looking towards a very good harvest this year. This will give us food and in addition, leaves us with the chance to generate funds. Farming is good. It strengthens the body and soul. It is a provider of fortune. I recommend farming to Nigerians, most especially those in the public and private sectors who should be contributing to the plan to re-grow national economy.”
Meanwhile, Wamakko has urged the Federal Government to partner with established farmers on research aimed atmodernisation of agriculture production, storage and distribution with improved technologies and management.
He also implored the government to copy the model of agriculture development from China, India, United States (U.S.), Brazil and others, which he said, had made agriculture the mainstay of their economies with mass employment generation and huge foreign exchange earnings.