Nigerians have been charged to change their perception of agriculture as an occupation for the uneducated, poor, and less the privileged, in order for the country to make a headway and record breakthrough in the sector.
The Senior Special Assistant to Ondo State Governor on Agriculture, Mr. Akin Olotu stated this in Akure while addressing school Headteachers and Agric teachers from secondary schools across the state on the proposed ‘School on the Ridges’ programme of the state government.
The programme, being an initiative of the Rotimi Akeredolu’s administration was aimed at impressing the minds of the school students by creating positive perception of agriculture as money spinning and noble profession, contrary to opinions that it is an occupation for only the poor and illiterates.
Olotu said the present administration has developed agriculture in the state through massive investment in the sector by turning it into a venture that can create jobs and generate revenue to drive the economy in the face of a global fall in the prices of crude oil.
He urged the school heads and agric teachers to stop using agriculture as punitive measure for erring students, but rather teach them agricultural methods and develop the spirit of entrepreneurship in them by exposing them to the potentials in the sector.
The Governor’s aide who observed that more is needed to be done to boost the agricultural base of the state, said the state government is laying a strong economic foundation for the state through massive investments in the agricultural sector.
In a statement signed by the Press officer to the SSA, Mr Olaoluwa Meshack, Olotu said the ‘School on the Ridges’ programme is in line with the five cardinal programmes of the state government which include using agriculture to create jobs, generate revenue and lay a solid industrial and economic base for the state.
The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor also advocated that agriculture be made a compulsory subject for all categories of secondary school students in the state, adding that participating schools would be assisted to develop their potentials in areas where they have comparative advantages, while some issues such as location, peculiarity, size of lands among others would be taken into consideration.
Some of them that spoke at the occasion lauded the state government for the programme but listed some of their challenges to include land encroachment, herdsmen menace, poor access roads and lack of funds among others.