An agriculturist, James Idahosa says the Federal Government should develop the manufacturing sector concurrently with agriculture to ensure the success of its diversification agenda.
Idahosa, in a press briefing in Abuja, on Thursday that agricultural production must be accompanied with a functional processing and manufacturing sector to succeed.
He said that this was the only way the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) could record substantial increase.
“The Nigerian government should make Nigerians to understand that there are different careers in the agricultural sector.
“What Nigerians seems to understand from the message being passed by the government is that everyone should go into farming. But agriculture comprises of much more than digging up the soil to plant.
“The sector creates room for scientists who are needed to study soil texture, patterns and weather conditions conducive for planting.
“It also requires marketers, market analysts, and salesmen of agricultural products and equipment that would make production and economic activities easier for agricultural firms and producers.
“There are also those who deal with logistics, who strategically manage the chain of demand and supply and ensure the production, supply, distribution and storage of products, are in good condition.’’
He said that agricultural production alone would not liberate Nigeria from recession.
Idahosa noted that there were many developed countries without much of an agricultural sector but with a viable and functioning manufacturing sector.
He said for farmers to produce in high quality and quantities, make good profit, and add to the national GDP, there was a need for mechanisation of the agricultural process.
According to him, the country needs to produce its own machinery as imported machinery are beyond the reach of the ordinary farmers.
The agriculturist explained that self sufficiency required that Nigeria should not only be a producer of food crops but also of technology.
Similarly, Mr Tekena Brown, an economic analyst urged the Federal Government not to lay all its emphasis on agricultural production.
Brown said that agriculture was not the golden solution to Nigeria’s poor economic status.
“Agriculture is not a sector that a whole country gets involved in; rather it is a sector that requires just a proportion of the country’s population.
“Basically, you can’t tell a whole nation to go into a land space and start creating ridges with their hoes to plant and grow crops, if that happens, the sector’s revenue will remain low.’’
Brown said that in spite of India’s large farming population, agriculture generated only about 18 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“There are many mouths to feed due to the large population.
“The Indian government encouraged everyone to go into agriculture to boost the economy, causing a large portion of the Indian population to partake in crop or animal farming, with a few in the Information Technology sector.
“With this, it is obvious that there are more people in the sector than required, causing the sector to yield low revenue and become a low income sector.
“Only 17 per cent of Indians involved in agriculture are able to solely depend on their agricultural business for their income, while the rest hold up other jobs to cushion their income.
“We have to ask ourselves, if everyone goes into agriculture what will happen to the surplus food.’’
He stressed that a successful agricultural sector depended highly on a successful manufacturing sector because “the manufacturers are able to produce machinery that will boost the agricultural productivity’’.
“We should invest in our manufacturing and education sector.
“This is to enable some people to go into intensive crop and animal farming, while the rest will go into manufacturing which supports the success of the agricultural sector,” Brown said.