A Professor of Agribusiness and Marketing Management at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, FUTA has advised governments to use Agriculture and its vast business potentials to lure youth away from nefarious activities, frauds and the internet based scams popularly known as ‘Yahoo Yahoo’ in local parlance. Prof. Taiwo Mafimisebi gave the advice while delivering the 137th inaugural lecture of the University titled: “Agribusiness Income and Conquest of Poverty: What Nexus?” on Thursday 21st October 2021 at the University Main Auditorium.
Mafimisebi said governments at all levels should devise workable strategies that will make agribusiness attractive to the youth and which can become sustainably profitable. He said this will ‘lure’ youths away from nefarious activities to self-manage multiple agribusinesses which require little or no capital. According to him this will help to break the poverty trap. “I am confident that the poverty trap can indeed be broken so that one can enter the good life that comes from multiple incomes through agribusiness,” Mafimisebi said. According to him, if this is institutionalized and made a key workable policy of government, it will drastically reduce unemployment, poverty and the number of youths who claim they are driven into ‘yahoo yahoo’ to escape the poverty trap.
Mafimisebi said to achieve this, youths should be organized into viable groups that will ease access to rotating credit and bank credit and loan. He also canvassed for joint ownership of capital intensive agribusiness assets. He said capacity building for better agribusiness can be easily channeled through formal groups therefore special credit windows with low or no interest should be established for agribusiness households paying particular attention to youth and women. He also advised that governments should also make available guaranteed bank loan to youths in agribusiness with a moratorium of two years. “Technologies that enhance productive exploitation of agribusiness inputs that have significant positive effects on farmers’ outputs should be researched, packaged, subsidized and made available to farmers’, the don said.
The lecturer said African farmers have lived and worked as subsistence farmers, which is characterized by drudgery occasioned by use of simple farm implements. Professor Mafimisebi emphasized that Agribusiness opportunities in Africa and particularly in Nigeria, the most populous African nation, are enormous. He said Nigeria is endowed with varied agro climatic conditions which permit and facilitate the production of several varieties of Agric products which can boost production and by extension creating employment, business and reduce poverty.
He advised that Higher education institutions with School of Agriculture in Nigeria need to take a more practical approach to training undergraduates in Agriculture as is being done in some African Universities like Botswana University of Agriculture where the University devotes a semester of 14-17 weeks for students to conceive, design and run a personal Agribusiness with seed funds provided by the government or university as the case may be.
Professor Mafimisebi defined Agribusiness as the sum total of all operations involved in the manufacture and distributions of farm supplies, production of operation on the farm and storage, processing, distribution of farm commodities made from them, while describing poverty as a multi-dimensional, socio economic, cultural and sometimes spiritual malaise which transcends economic description and analyses.
He said Nigerians are caught in the poverty trap every minute, meaning that within one hour of delivering the lecture, 360 Nigerians would have fallen into poverty. Mafimisebi pointed out that exclusive reliance on salary as income source has proven to be suicidal; he therefore advised youth and adult to engage in multiple ventures such as agribusiness which can improve their income flow.
The Don implored Federal Government to off board public servants very strategically during retirement. He proposed that two years before retirement, public servants should be given one work free day weekly to enable them begin the planning and running of Agribusiness since the payment of pension and gratuity are often delayed making the situation of many public servants dire immediately following retirement.
He said if all these are done and agribusiness becomes the driver of the country’s economy with the youth playing a major role, they will restore the glory of Nigeria and bring respect and honour to the youth and the future of Nigeria.
Speaking in his capacity as the Chairman of the occasion the Vice Chancellor, Professor Joseph Fuwape represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Development Professor Philp Oguntunde described the lecturer as one who has distinguished himself as a scholar of repute in his area of specialization in addition to knowledge impartation across the continents of Africa and globally.