By Abba Lawan Musa
Agriculture in Nigeria tends to have future prospects; this is because agriculture is the only occupation that affects all the inhabitants of the state and the country in general directly or indirectly. It is the only business that can provide employment opportunities to over 60%-70% of the population of the state if it has been improved and government come up with different policies that enhance the system and encourage the citizens to go back into it.
Agriculture is the only way that people gain their livelihood because; it provides the people with food, raw materials that are used in our agro based industries. It generates revenue to government and various categories of people and also boosts the economic situation that gives ample opportunity for saving and investment.
Negligence in Agricultural activities by many state governors as a result of over reliance on federal government allocations make the sector inactive which causes serious problem not for only those in the sector, but to all the citizens of the state and the nation in general.
Investigation shows that these problems of over reliance by state government, abandoning the sector, carelessness by the farmers and state governors affects all the societies in different field and sector ranging from national government down to the final consumer (household).
Some of the consequences of the problem include: low revenue to government, unemployment and poor economic development. This problem also affects the farmers by making them lost a large quantity of their produce. This is because, any time they invest their money instead of making profit they end up with lost and this makes the farmers became unemployed and by being unemployed, the problem makes them to move to some places where they can gain their basic needs. This is called “Rural-Urban Migration” which is another problem to the state.
The problem also affects manufacturers in terms of raw materials scarcity, low income, poor supply and some cases leads to closure of the companies and this would create scarcity of goods or services in the market, Inflation, possibility of famine as a result of it, etc.
In addressing the problem, there is a need of collaboration between all stakeholders at the sector like government, farmers, experts in agricultural activities, manufacturers, traders as well as final consumers.
If we take government as a solution, government should come up with different policies that improve the sector like one that federal government under Olusegun Obasanjo military administration in 1976, Operation Feed The Nation, Green Revolution, by Shehu Shagari administration and other policies with the intention of improving the sector and encouraging more people to enter into the agricultural sector.
In order to reduce over reliance on federal government and importation of food stuff from in and out of the country, the state government should establish University and College of Agriculture or convert some colleges to college of agriculture. Also government can address the problem by providing infrastructural facilities in rural areas in order to discourage rural-urban migration.
The objectives of the programme would be based on: to provide food, reduce unemployment, convert rural-urban migration and reduce over reliance on federal government as well as importation of food stuff from in and outside the country.
In achieving all these objectives, state government should collaborate with federal government, international organisations, private companies and interested individuals to embark on capital projects in the rural areas where most of the farmers live, for example, government or any interested stakeholder should go to some areas and build factories that transform what farmers produce in that areas to secondary product. This would help in many fields like preventing farmers from lost, provide them with irrigation equipment for dry season farming, this also would reduce all that I have mentioned above. Another way to achieve the objectives of the programme is by setting some amount of money aside by government in order to buy what farmers produce at the price that all the farmers would not lose and sell to the public at affordable prices.
If all these would be done by next 10 years, there would be no rural-urban migration, no unemployed farmers, no more importation of food stuff as well as over reliance on federal government.
The goals and objectives of his invention should be achieved through massive awareness to all stakeholders (government, organisations, companies, farmers and private individuals) through various channels of communication like radio, television, posters and the use of traditional and religious leaders.
Diffusion of innovation theory can be used on this programme In order to achieve the set goals and objectives because of its relevance with the programme. The programme has relationship with the basic elements of the theory (Innovation, Communication Channel, Time and Social System). Once the programme is executed properly, it would call the attention of others to enter into the sector and keep those that are already in it busy throughout the year.
By the mid of the implementation of the programme with the proper and regular monitoring and supervising of government, professionals in the sector and other stakeholders like International observers and community leaders would find out some of these outcomes of the programme like: more revenue to government, increase the level of investment in the state, employment opportunities, food security, low level of rural-urban migration and many more outcomes with more than 50%.
At the end of the programme, Kano State would provide enough food for the citizens and the whole nation and more revenue that enables the state to carry out all its administrative activities without reliance on the federal government. Some of the challenges that the programme may face include frequent change of government, political instability, corruption, and careless attitude of the public.
Therefore, to tackle the challenges, government official can make its continuation law by any administration, fighting corruption in the state; provide a conducive atmosphere and massive awareness to the public about it.
Abba Lawan Musa is of the Department of Mass Communication, Bayero University, Kano.