Don warns against under funding agric sector
…As FUTO holds 29th inaugural lecture
The need for adequate budgetary provision and release of funds to implement agricultural policy initiatives in the country has been stressed.
This came in a presentation at the 29th inaugural lecture of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO), Imo State delivered on Thursday, 22nd September, 2016 at the hall of excellence by Prof. Julius Sunday Orebiyi of the department of agricultural economics FUTO.
It was the first inaugural lecture since the inception of the substantive VC Prof Francis Eze. Prof Orebiyi while delivering the lecture entitled “Agricultural credit: A policy catalyst needed for poverty reduction and rural Agricultural Transformation in Nigeria”.
The Don spoke extensively on the challenges confronting rural farmers when financing their agricultural plan; and how beneficial policies could help in improving their lot. He opined that though the Nigeria’s Agricultural policy makers has always spoke for enough agricultural funding; it has not lived up to its responsibilities when it comes to putting their money where their mouth is “it is very sad to observe that government expenditure on agriculture has been shown not to be substantial enough to meet the objectives of the policies, this account wholly why Nigeria cannot depend on herself to supply the large fraction of her food needs for self sufficiency” he said.
Continuing, the Kogi born DON posited that since the Nigeria economy is dependent on petroleum as the prime source of its revenue, poor financing of the agricultural sector continued to engender increased reduction in food supply, snow balling inflation and its attendant consequences of a free fall in the value of the Naira and price instability.
He also lamented the inconsistencies in policy formulation which he said is as a result of waning value system where policy makers will only evolve programmes that will favour himself and immediate constituency.
As a way forward, Prof Orebiyi recommended that the country should shun the overdependence on oil, roll out investment policies that will respond to the diverse needs of the many segments of the rural populace by targeting important agricultural crops aimed at improving their output which will be used as raw materials for our industries. This he said will lead to reduction of our import, increase earnings and stimulation of economic growth development.
Other measures as suggested by the Prof includes the packaging of investment incentives in rural agricultural production to lure investors, research cum training of youths in capacity building to enable them sharpen their latent decision making processes, reduction of interest rate (cost of borrowing), others are the grant (at least one year) for long term agricultural investments; policy continuity in the agricultural sector and other facets of our national life, infrastructural development in terms of quality rural roads, electricity, water supply, good transportation facilities and well developed markets. He admonished that Nigerians should shun corruption in all facets of their national lives.
In his speech, the deputy vice chancellor (Academic) Prof O. Ogbobe who represented the chairman of the occasion who is the vice chancellor described Prof Orebiyi as a rare gem whose immense contributions are not only visible in his faculty-school of Agriculture and Agricultural Technology (SAAT), but in the entire FUTO community as well as the cause of humanity at large.
A memento was presented to Prof Orebiyi by the Pro Chancellor and chairman of the governing council Dr. Emmanuel M.I. Enemuo. Some groups also appreciated the lecturer, including his faculty, his past and present academic offspring, friends, well wishers among others.
The event was witnessed by the principal officers of the university, colleagues, students and family members’ et al.