Alarmed by the rising state of unemployment and hunger ravaging the country, the federal government has been urged to encourage rapid investment in other sectors of the economy, to generate employment for Nigeria’s teeming unemployed youths, and thus save the country from economic collapse.
Prince Osita A. Okeke, the Global Principal Coordinator of a socio-cultural group – the Concerned Anambrians For Development (CAFD) made the remark while speaking with Airport correspondents at the Sam Mbakwe Airport, Owerri on his return from a trade mission abroad.
He called for a holistic approach towards development of agriculture, possibly using a national food security strategic plan to execute changes that can bring about improved agriculture and ensure food security for all Nigerians.
While lauding the administration’s Anchor Borrowers Programme in which the CBN, has set aside N40billion for farmers at single digit interest rate of 9%, Prince Okeke however said government should not concentrate on production alone but to ensure investment in other aspects of agriculture value chain such as storage, processing and market development.
“Government at all levels should address the issue of research and capacity building on modern farming methodologies, mechanization, agro processing, storage and market development”.
“Also there is need for the formation of farmers cooperatives to facilitate the processing and access to loans; establishment of agro-service centres to render farm support services to small scale farmers through the sale of quality fertilizers, seed and crop chemicals, equipment maintenance and marketing of farm produce” he said.
He proclaimed the urgent need for the rehabilitation of the degraded irrigation infrastructure under the River Basin and Rural Development Authorities to ensure all season farming and thereby a shift from food shortage to food security.
Prince Okeke who prayed for the quick recovery of the president Gen. Mohammadu Buhari from the illness that have dogged his activities and hampered his ability to fulfil his promises to Nigerians, declared that no power on earth can stop an idea whose time has come, and that the emergence of Nigeria as a major agro-industrial powerhouse in the word happens to be one such idea.
He expressed dismay over Nigeria’s infrastructure deficit that have resulted to industrial eclipse in Nigeria and urged government to put in place policies and programmes that will enhance rapid investment and industrial growth in the country; pointing out that, it is only through the development of our agricultural and industrial potentials can Nigeria become a great nation.
“We must revive the animal spirit in Nigeria’s economy; we owe it to our nation to take all the necessary decisions which would return the country to a high growth path the CAFD Boss posited.
“In Nigeria, it is not always easy for people with genuine ideas to walk into our banks and get needed loans to get their projects off the ground due to high interest rate that is over 30% and hiper inflation, therefore government must have to work seriously on our monetary policies to lower the interest rate to single digit to ensure budding entrepreneurs get needed funds to flourish”.
Prince Okeke urged our leaders never to forget the fact that over halt the population of Nigeria are made up of people under the age of 25 and the government must as a result figure out how to guarantee those millions a future of long, gainful employment.
“Nigeria cannot afford to grow at a low pace, our government has to make policies that every young person gets the job he deserves, and the chance he deserves” he declared.