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Lack of political will responsible for food insufficiency – Prof Sharubutu

From Okwe Obi, Abuja

The Executive Secretary of Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), Professor Garba Sharubutu, has linked food insufficiency in the country to lack of political will by the government.

Professor Sharubutu, who spoke yesterday at a 3-day workshop on demand-driven curriculum for agriculture education in Nigeria, in Abuja, accused government of neglecting Colleges of Agriculture, in terms of funding and adequate manpower.

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He said: “The problem of agriculture is not in funding perse, the problem is the political will to implement it.

“Until recently, there has never been interest in the Colleges of Agriculture in this country from the private sector point of view; not even from the government.”

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Network for Agricultural Technical Education of Nigeria (NATEN), Prof. Justina Mgbada urged experts in the sector to make agriculture attractive for young people..

She disclosed that 60 per cent of farmers in Nigeria were older people, warning that if the trend should continue, Nigeria would slump into food crisis.

She said: “We found out that one of the major things we need to do is to make agriculture glamorous by making it attractive to the youths.

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“Its true that there are no jobs, students pass out from schools, they do not get jobs, instead of them to go to the farms, they come into major cities, wash cars, cleaning windscreens, and doing other menial jobs.

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“We have many natural resources that when harnessed well, the country will develop, that is why the curriculum of agricultural education needs to be changed and modified and made demand-driven.”

Mgbada explained that demand-driven agricultural education was an opportunity for young people to be trained in higher institutions on value addition and in line with the current realities of the country.

According to her, the reformation of the curriculum of agriculture into a demand-driven approach, it would be attract foreign investors and that more than half of the country’s problem would be solved.

On his part, President, Association of Deans of Faculties of Agriculture of Nigerian Universities, Professor James Jayeoba, noted that the workshop was timely and an opportunity for a paradigm shift from the regular theory to demand-driven curriculum development.

Jayeoba added that exercise was an avenue for making agriculture practitioners problem solvers and to develop their mind set towards value-added activities.

“A paradigm shift in our regular agriculture education curricula is apt and this training is beneficial to all.

“We must move from theoretical-driven curriculum to demand-driven curriculum, so that we can have the orientation that students acquire hands-on experience on relevant equipment and reality in the production system,” he said.

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