A former member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Jude Idimogu, says Nigeria has all it takes to achieve food sufficiency.
Idimogu, who represented Oshodi/Isolo Constituency II, stated this while addressing reporters in Lagos.
Idimogu said hunger, food insecurity, and unemployment would drastically reduce if the government and other stakeholders take decisive steps towards agricultural development.
He called for a reform in the programmes of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) through the involvement of corps members in agricultural production.
“Agriculture is central to the country’s sustainable development. The sector is critical for generating employment in rural areas, supporting the economy in farming communities and ensuring food security. The sector has an essential role to play in improving Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Idimogu said.
The former lawmaker noted that the NYSC is a multidimensional investment in Nigeria’s socio-economic and cultural landscape, adding that its benefits permeate personal development, education, health, social integration and national unity.
“Those who evolved the scheme were mindful of enabling Nigerian youths to acquire the spirit of self-reliance by encouraging them to develop skills for self-employment.
“The scheme has also evolved to contribute to the accelerated growth of the national economy, develop common ties among the Nigerian youths, and promote national unity and integration, Idimogu said.
On how to maximise the latency of members of the NYSC for rewarding national development, the former lawmaker stressed that Nigeria is blessed with arable lands.
“As the NYSC scheme is a yearly affair, the country should develop a new policy that would make it mandatory for every state to deploy any youth corps member to each of the three senatorial zones.”
“As they are posted to these areas, they should work on the farms, using mechanised farming to produce bountiful agricultural produce for the benefit of the people. Except those in medical, teaching and other specialised fields, all should embrace agriculture. The states should develop agricultural clusters for different kinds of agricultural value chains.
“They should be provided with farms and accommodation, like hostels, and make the environment conducive for farming. Within that one year, they will engage in mechanized farming, and while they are passing out, another group is coming to continue from where the previous set stopped. Some of them might decide to make it their way of life and profession. This way, food will be abundant all year round.
“If this is considered, in the next 10 years, Nigeria will begin to export food. However, we may have the challenge of preservation. That’s where the government comes in,” Idimogu added.