Send corps members to farm, economist tells FG

Send corps members to farm, economist tells FG

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The Federal Government has been advised to positively exploit the numerical strength and high level of education of the members of the National Youth Service Corps by encouraging them to embrace agriculture.
A leading economist in Nigeria, Mr. Paul Alaje, said while speaking on a radio programme, monitored by The Point in Osogbo, the capital of Osun State, that the government at the centre should mobilise all corps members to engage in mechanised farming with a view to producing enough food for local consumption and export. This, Alaje said, would enable the corps members to be trained in agriculture and in return, train local farmers in mechanised farming.
He assured the government that the approach would bring about surplus food in the country.
To actualise this, Alaje said farms could be established across the 36 states while corps members would be used as drivers of the agricultural initiative after they might have been trained by experts in various aspects of agriculture at the beginning of their one year national service.
He expressed optimism that there would be enough food in the country for both local consumption and export upon the completion of their service. The economist also, encouraged every state of the federation to provide farm for this scheme.
He said, “All corps members should go to the farm. They will help the local farmers. These corps members will bring their knowledge to bear on farming and there would be huge production of food for local consumption and export.
“They (corps members) would also assist in training local farmers after they might have been trained by experts in agriculture.
“It’s disheartening that Nigeria still imports toothpick. We have not made farming attractive to Nigerians. People should be able to use computer in farm. Farming is no longer bending your back and taking hoes and cutlasses to farm, it has gone mechanised.
“If 10 percent of Nigerians can farm, there will be surplus food. Most of our leaders only speak from their lips and not from their hearts. If government asks you to go to farm, you need to check them with a second eye. We’re still importing more and more than we export.”
Alaje said government was not ready to diversify the economy, stressing that diversification has only been taking place on the radio, television and pages of newspapers.
The economist, who is also a management consultant, advised the Federal Government against releasing further bailout funds to state governments.
Rather, he said the Federal Government should bail out the private sector and people on the streets.
According to him, “The Federal government should stop bailing out states; rather, it should bail out private sectors, bail out SMEs and the people in the streets and not people in government houses.
“What we need now is mental infrastructure and human resources development. Nigeria should develop human beings and once people are developed, the people will bring capital. There is no positive signal that Nigeria’s economy is getting better.”

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