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Make Farming More Attractive, Cleric Urges Kwara Elected Politicians

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A cleric, Alhaji Sodiq Afolayan, has urged the newly elected All Progressive candidates in Kwara to make mechanised farming their major preoccupation.

Afolayan told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Omu-Aran on Wednesday that agriculture remained the veritable alternative to engage the youths productively, especially at the grassroots.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the party had cleared all the available slots in the state in the just-concluded general elections.

The cleric said that embarking on such venture would boost the government efforts toward diversifying the state and the country’s economy from oil to agric based.

According to him, government has been paying lip service toward fully transforming agriculture to attract the youths both as a career and vocation.

“A situation where not a single council out of the 16 in Kwara 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,’’ Afolayan said.

Afolayan, who is the Chief Imam of Omu-Aran Central Mosque, Omu-Aran called on the newly elected leaders in the state to channel adequate resources toward making farming attractive to the youths.

He 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.

He stressed that such intervention would assist to secure the nation’s growth and economic diversification.

Afolayan said that youths had formidable roles to play in the government’s efforts to diversify the economy from oil to agriculture.

He said that transforming agriculture required collective responsibility of all stakeholders to achieve the desired results.

He further stressed 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 that the problem was compounded as most youths 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, ” Afolayan said.

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