In the early ‘90s, agriculture was the major source of income and everything was going smooth and rosy; history has it that a dollar used to be equivalent to a Naira. But now…, it’s a nightmare. It is a normal parlance amongst the Yorubas that a home would be tranquil until a bastard emerges from the home. This is exactly the case of Nigeria. This country is really blessed, our land is naturally fertile and can allow the growth of any plant.
Also, we experience bimodal rainfall pattern; we have two planting seasons. These alone are blessings that other countries are hoping to get.
There is a popular proverb that says “Do not kill the goose that lays the golden egg’. Nigerian and Nigeria have not only killed the goose but have also dispatched the eggs. I don’t know how feasible it is, for a man to rely solely on one source of income, when it has countless opportunities circumventing it. Agriculture is an inherent asset that has been mismanaged in Nigeria, this is why we are facing economic meltdown day-in-day-out. The discovery of oil should compliment the existing means of income, agriculture, and not to displace it totally.
However, it is better late than never; we are happy the present government have been showing kind gesture to agricultural sector. In the attempt to revamp the dwindling economy, a policy was launched last year, named the Agriculture production policy(2016-2020). It is aimed towards developing and revitalizing the sector. In it, several opportunities were showed.
Let’s start from the common crops. It has become our habit in Nigeria, we belittle things a lot. Do you know you can make huge money from vegetables on a regular basis at low cost of production?
Everyone want to plant cassava, plantain, oil palm and other prestigious cash crops on thousand of acres, neglecting the staple food like vegetables. Vegetables are cheap and very palatable to all and sundry. The rate of poverty in Nigeria is very alarming; people would settle for cheap food stuffs like vegetables.
Truly, people plant on large scale with the aim of feeding the nation; but the fact is, a large percentage of the citizens are still hungry. They cannot afford most of this commodities. If you want to do any agribusiness, consider vegetable farming. With it, you serve two purposes; firstly, you feed the nation and also make your money in a steady and regular way at low cost of production.
Rice farming is another major area you can make lots of money. It was recorded in the Agriculture production policy(2016-2020) that Nigerians need about 6.3 millions tons of rice, only 2.3 million tons are available. Imagine the gap and its effect on people livelihood. Rice has turned gold; its not an average man food anymore. The opportunity for rice farming is very lucrative. This is one of the key agricultural areas that need serious cushion. With more rice farmers in the country, numerous job opportunities are created, they economy of the country is revamped, the standard of living of average Nigerian is enhanced and above all, the money used in importation of rice from other countries is allocated to other needy sector.
Another untapped opportunity is the diary production. Ridiculously, some of our indigenous goats are now exported to other countries for milking and other dairy products. Though, there are some breeds of cattle that are not well adapted here due to the climatic conditions. But with the present level of technology, environment can now be modified to meet the environmental requirements of the animal. It is presently practiced in the north and good yield has been recorded. The only problem is; we have limited investors in this sector. Most investors invest in plantain, cassava, etc. production. If you really want to make money and help in revamping the economy, invest in dairy production. Your market is available and your yield is guaranteed provided your production plan is well defined.
Tomato production is another business that needs serious attention. It saddens to see imported tomato pastes around our malls and supermarkets. Despite the fertile large expanse of land Nigeria is endowed with. Few months ago, tomato was sold at a very ridiculous price considering the quantity. This crop is a staple crop, everyone eats tomato everyday. The scarcity of tomatoes is really belittling the nation. Plant tomato instead of plantain or cassava; with it, you are doing a lot of good for the nation and people at large.
Another crop to fetch you millions is oil palm. The demand for oil palm is far greater than its supply. The price of palm oil is very ridiculous, it is very expensive now. We have the resources but its left used. This product is needed by all and sundry. Invest here to make the economy bigger and better.
Lastly, we need cocoa products in abundance. Cocoa used to be the major source of income; imagine how copious it would be then. What has happened to the cocoa plantation and processing factories? Nigeria imports cocoa product when she has all the resources to facilitate its production. Cocoa has the potential to make this country better and greater again. Take the lead to make the sector better again, invest in it and get rich, invest in it to change people’s life for good, invest in it to make the nation better again.
Don’t let’s leave everything for the government to handle, its cumbersome. Let’s make efforts; the country is our country and not the government’s. Plantain is surplus, cassava is copious; some farmers are even exporting. It is good though but let’s look inward and feed our neighbours before thinking of feeding other nation. Remember, charity begins at home. I implore all able citizens to have a critical look at these agribusinesses.