Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says there is a need to invest in agriculture to take the nation out of poverty.
He made the recommendation on Thursday in Abuja while launching the Green Imperative, a project of the Federal Government in collaboration with the Brazilian government.
“Frankly, we believe we cannot bring our nation out of poverty, especially the large numbers of the poor without significant investments in agriculture and, of course, mechanised agriculture,” the Vice President was quoted as saying in a statement by his media aide, Mr Laolu Akande.
He added, “But also because we know the sheer number of young people who are coming into our population in the next 10 – 15 years, will certainly not only need to be fed, but will also need to have jobs, and the sort of jobs that these young people will want will not be jobs requiring hoes and cutlasses.”
Professor Osinbajo noted that the young generation would need more dignified jobs while the government would be able to achieve more with mechanisation.
He stressed that the only way the nation can make the quantum leap required to advance its economy and provide the number of jobs needed was simply what the government was doing.
The Vice President highlighted the progress made so far, saying there would be a combination of service centres where technical capacity and training would take place.
According to him, the major dividends of all these are the hundreds of thousands of quality jobs that young men and women will be able to access.
“Today, we have made a significant difference in our journey, not just in self-sufficiency in food production, but also in creating the kinds of jobs that we could have from agriculture,” said Osinbajo.
“Also crucial is the fact that the private sector is an important component of this particular enterprise … we have ensured that this will be private sector driven and we have here today, both Nigerian and Brazilian investors committed to investing and working on this project.”
He said President Muhammadu Buhari’s dream of self-sufficiency in food production has moved closer to realisation, as the nation would be able to produce food for its people in the next couple of years.
The Vice President was also hopeful that there would be employment not just in agriculture, but in all of the agro-allied value chain and manufacturing.