A cleric, Christopher Owolabi, has urged the newly elected council chairmen in Kwara State to make mechanised farming their major preoccupation.
Owolabi said in Omu-Aran on Monday that agriculture remained the veritable alternative to engage the youths productively, especially at the grassroots.
The 16 chairmen, who were elected during the November 18 council polls, would be sworn-in by Gov. Abdulfatah Ahmed on Tuesday.“A situation where not a single council out of 16 in Kwara State could boast of a tractor to develop agriculture at the grassroots is not good.
“This does not show the seriousness of government in that regard, Owolabi said.
Owolabi,who is the General Overseer of Christ Apostolic Church, Ori-OkeIrapada, OmuAran, called on the newly elected chairmen to channel adequate resources toward making farming attractive to the youths.
The man of God also advised governments at all tiers to increase funding for agriculture, saying that over-dependence on oil could not achieve the desired socio-economic development for the country.
According to him, such intervention will assist to secure the nation’s growth and economic diversification.
Owolabi said youths had formidable roles to play in the government’s efforts to diversify the economy from oil to agriculture.
He said transforming agriculture required collective responsibility of all stakeholders to achieve the desired results, stressing the need for re-ordering of priorities by the federal, state and local governments to adequately tackle the nation’s food insufficiency.
He suggested a well-coordinated national policy on agriculture to be embraced by all tiers government to develop the sector.
He said the problem was compounded as most youth empowerment initiatives were concentrated on distribution of motorcycles, grinding machines, with less regard for agriculture at the grassroots.
“There is need for state ministries of agriculture to work in tandem with their federal counterparts in the areas of research, documentation and development”, Owolabi said.