Nigeria’s over-dependence on oil is a threat to national stability and constitutes a hindrance to agriculture development, says Dr Olatunde Agbato, the Chief Executive Officer, Animal Care Services Konsult.
Agbato made the assertion during a lecture he delivered at Landmark University’s 2nd convocation ceremony in Omu-Aran, Irepodun Local Government Area of Kwara. The Agbato spoke on the topic: ‘Inclusive Agriculture, a Catalytic Trigger for Non-Oil Dependent Economy”.
Agbato recalled that the country’ economy was predominantly agrarian and extractive in its formative years before the major oil exploration and exploitation which led to the neglect of agriculture.
According to him, the country’s landscape is the most fertile in the world with more than 14 million farming families capable of growing almost all crops. “Regrettably, with less attention paid to harness these potential, the country currently has over 40 per cent arable land which remains uncultivated.
“The over-dependence on oil earnings to finance governance and the development of public infrastructure is clearly an unsustainable approach to national development,” he said.
He said that over-dependence on oil to develop the economy had exposed the nation to the vagaries associated with oil volatility, which often throws its public finance into disarray.
“Currently, governments at all levels are in distress, with many states owing salaries for several months because oil prices crashed and exports dwindled since last year.”
Agbato said agriculture, if technologically driven, had the potential to lift the nation out of its present predicament and enable it to meet its socio-economic aspirations.
He suggested the adoption of inclusive growth, to ensure wider access to sustainable socio-economic opportunities for the majority with adequate protection of the vulnerable in the society.
“In other words, inclusive growth initiatives avoid creating situations of the “rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer,” he said.
In his speech, the Vice-chancellor, Prof. Joseph Afolayan, reiterated the institution’s commitment to agrarian revolution drive to solve the nation’s poverty and food insufficiency challenges.
“We had since inception a few years ago, adopted agriculture as a veritable platform in building capacities to develop the nation’s economy and reduce poverty, unemployment and food scarcity challenges,” he said. NAN

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