Agriculture, fastest way to wealth- TETFund boss, Echono

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From Fred Ezeh, Abuja

Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Sonny Echono, has described Agriculture as the root and fastest to wealth in today’s world.

He appreciated the efforts of federal and state government to boost agriculture and other food production intervention, but solicited increased investment and other research that improve the agriculture.

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Echono gave the suggestion during roundtable meeting with Vice Chancellors of Universities on the implementation of Agricultural Research and Innovation Fellowship for Africa (ARIFA) in Nigeria with the them, ‘building the post-vicosa symposium action plan.”

He enjoined the Vice Chancellors to put more energy for actualisation of agriculture transformation while urging them to operationalize the Centres of Excellence as soon as as possible.

He said: “My charge to you is to make this a personal mission because I am very confident that if we get it right in agriculture in this country, half of our problems would be solved because it is the easiest means of creating jobs and wealth.

“Most of those who are being recruited into banditry, into the insurgency, if they are able to work on the land they would perhaps prefer to do that than the arms struggles they are doing.

“And if we can find modern ways of doing things that will significantly improve revenue because as the yield increase, of course revenues would increase and it makes it more attractive.

“As we adopt new technology, develop our mechanization and irrigation, we will found opportunities through commercial agriculture and we will be able to absorb the graduates that will produce because most of the issue, if you notice, more than 60 percent of those who graduate with agriculture go on to do other things with their lives because of absence of commercial farming that can absorb the workforce.

“But as we develop the sector, then the demand for personnel in that sector will increase and we will be in position to also improve our revenue. There are countries that depends solely on agriculture and they are doing very well and it is the one resource that God has blessed us.

“I enjoin you to take this message and the issue very seriously. There may be few mistakes along the line but we should correct ourselves. We should operationalize the Centers of Excellence as quickly as we can.”

Executive Secretary of Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo, said in his remarks that the workshop was designed to have an internationalization process, saying that the outcomes from the meeting will feed into Post-Viçosa Sympo Action Plan, holding at University of Lagos from14th – 16th July.

He said the meeting will focus on priority areas of demand for increased capacity in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) establishment of innovation platforms, among others.

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