Invest in agriculture, not estates, Dogara urges businessmen
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, has urged entrepreneurs in Nigeria to invest resources in mechanised farming in Nigeria, saying that it is not in doubt that it will generate revenue for the country and bring the needed foreign exchange to move the economy forward.
Speaking when he visited Integrated Dairies Limited in Vom, Plateau State, Dogara said owners of land and capital should look beyond building of estates for rent and move into agriculture where they can provide employment while generating wealth.
He said, "I want to call on other entrepreneurs in Nigeria, especially those who have capital in hand, to take to mechanised farming and for most of our businessmen who think that the only way you can make money is through rent seeking to now see this as an example where you can add value to peoples lives and our nation's economy.
"If you look at milk produced in Nigeria, if we continue to depend on imports, that will deplete our forex in the sense that we have to contend with a situation whereby we always apply for forex to be able to bring in these products," he added.
He also noted that agriculture can only contribute meaningfully to economic growth in Nigeria when it is mechanised, as "there is no way we can compete in the global space without mechanised farming.
Earlier, Air Vice Marshall Ishaya Shekari (rtd), who runs the farm, which produces Farm Fresh Yoghurt, urged the government to provide land for farmers under ownership basis, saying it will make them feel more secure.
Thanking the Speaker for his interest and support for agriculture, he said, "this is a direct invitation for others who are involved in agriculture to come and see the little that we are doing here so that perhaps they will appreciate it and give us the necessary support. The things we put in the ground here, we certainly don't want to put them and just, one day, be asked to move out. So that is why we want more ownership.
"We hope we will be given the opportunity to have more ownership of the land. We have written the minister of Agriculture in this regard."