Man is indeed blessed with an abundance of nature,vast lands, different kinds of foods both known and unknown, adequate rainfall,good road network, able bodied men, good topography and all sort to till he ground proving his food. The benefits of agriculture can not be shoved aside as it’s as old as man himself.
This blessings are evident in the foods we eat, the crops we plant and harvest, blessings of different fruits which comes out in their due seasons, medicinal herbs for its health benefits, vegetations to surround, protect, beautify, shade and also act as carriers of oxygen and its kind meant for human living.
Agriculture can be defined as the science or practice of farming, including cultivation of the soil for the growing of crops and the rearing of animals to provide food, wool, and other products.This in turn means we plant, tender, cultivate, harvest and use for our consumption as its benefits too numerous to be mentioned.
The two forms of agriculture practiced in Nigeria is the Planting of the cash crops and The planting of the Food crops.The cash crops are crops which when planted take longer years to grow and fully germinate between 10-20 years.These crops when fully grown produce seeds that can be exported out of the country. Examples of such are; cocoa,rubber,kolanut, palm kernel, cashew nuts and the rest.
The food crops are those crops which when planted take fewer years to grow and they germinate between a period of 5 months to 2 years.These kinds of crops are planted for immediate family consumption and the rest sold off at the market. Examples of such crops are tomatoes,yam,beans, pepper.
In past years, Nigeria was famous for the export of groundnut,cocoa,rubber and palm kernel oil. But over time the export rate of this produce has reduced. A few years back local Nigerian companies commenced exporting groundnuts, cashew nuts, sesame seeds, moringa seeds etc.
Nigeria having a vast area covered by land can be exploited for agricultural purposes as most of the lands being arable which if exploited could bring much abundance of food.Different farming systems have been adopted by the farmers where a land is left idle for a period of time to allow natural regeneration of its soil mineral content.
Overtime, there has been a decline in food supply as Nigeria now experience food shortages despite the abundance of land, good soil topography, adequate rain fall, favorable road network system and an ever increasing populace.
The decline in the production of agricultural products poses serious threat to the nations economy and its citizenry.Low patronage of our local foodstuff, laziness on the parts of its citizens, dependence on imported foods, and ingenuity on the part of the government are some factors which contribute to the decline in food supply.
One way of salvaging this issue is to encourage young graduates to delve into farming as only few gets employed in the white collar job system.These young graduates should be trained on various aspects of agriculture and also trained in delivering quality good produce thereby giving them value for their money.
Government policies should be introduced to encourage citizens who want to go into the business of agriculture.They should introduce loans having minimal capital rates, introduce duty waivers for those importing agricultural machinery, provide farmers with viable seeds and fertilizers as at when due as these increases the agricultural yields.
High import duties should be placed on imported foods as these are harmful to health, encourage local production of food products,create viable investment policies allowing investors invest, educate the farmers on best practices employed, discourage the consumption of Genetically Modified Foods.Only then would we recover our lost glory and begin eating and living healthier lives.
SO LETS GO BACK TO THE FARM…