The Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria, Mrs. Ibukun Awosika, during the 20th ARMTI annual lecture in Ilorin, have canvassed strategic agriculture to grow Nigeria’s economy. She harped on the importance of achieving national food security and industrialisation for sustainable development.
Awosika defined Agropreunership as just entrepreneurship in the agricultural sector. Saying it is key to our national development because we must be able to feed ourselves as a nation. Adding that as a country of about 180 million people, all projections say that in the next few decades, we will be about 400 million people, and we do not want to run out of food as that will end in a lot of crisis.
In the lecture entitled, ‘Promoting agriprenuership in the green alternative: a catalyst for national security and sustainable development’, Awosika said:
- First Bank had invested much in the agricultural process more than any other bank, adding that the bank had the highest performance in terms of investment in supporting agriculture in the country.
- The youth employment deficit left thousands of graduates produced by tertiary institutions jobless. Against this backdrop, agriculture has the capacity to absorb unemployed graduates.
- Farmers need to be strategic in their production, adding that they should produce what the market was looking for to.
- It is important to research where there is a gap and what products Nigeria has competitive advantage in, which will interest the global market.
- Farmers should know the right produce and how to deliver it to the global market at the lowest price, and in the highest quality so that it could compete with other countries.
Awosika is of the opinion that once we can feed ourselves, we will have social stability and beyond that, there is so much economic value chain in agriculture that we need smart and dynamic right thinking Nigerians to engage in that process.
Adding that it is not just about being a subsistence entrepreneur, because a few of us feeding the whole nation won’t create much value for us. Because God has blessed us with a lot of arable land and the opportunities in it, we can create a lot of income for our country using those natural resources by applying ourselves.
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