Nigerian professors’ low pay of N416,000 is causing a brain drain, according to FUOYE VC
Abayomi Fasina, Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Oye Ekiti and a professor of Soil Science, told ABIODUN NEJO that the government needs to take advantage of the pool of expertise and technical know-how in universities to drive agriculture revival in the country, while lecturers should be better rewarded. Fasina is also a professor of Soil Science.
Prior to the discovery of oil, the primary contributor to Nigeria’s economy was the country’s agricultural sector. Because of the volatility of current oil prices, one may have believed that Nigeria needed to go back to its roots and rededicate itself to its initial love of agriculture. In your capacity as an authority, what are your thoughts regarding this matter?
To begin, we ought to delegate the management of agriculture to professionals who are well-versed in agricultural technology. It is imperative that we give agriculture in Nigeria more than just lip service if we want it to survive. We made a lot of money from oil, but we didn’t invest nearly as much of it on farming as we should have. Even though Nigeria’s land is rich in fertility, the federal government has not permitted agriculture to be managed by professionals in the manner in which it should be managed. Consider the case of Israel, which despite having some of the poorest soil in the world (desert), has created a technology that allows them to make the most of their surroundings. They invest a significant amount of resources in research and technology, and they provide a comfortable working environment for its technocrats. As a result, they have been successful in developing an appropriate strategy for cropping.
It should be a policy of the Federal Government of Nigeria that each of the local governments in Nigeria should have at least one farm settlement. This farm settlement should produce food for the people living in the local government as well as produce goods that can be exported out of the local government. For example, if you produce oil palm in Edo State, you have the ability to export it; similarly, the Northern region that produces groundnuts, rice, and legumes will do the same thing. Because of God’s many blessings, different regions of the country are well suited for the cultivation of a variety of diverse crops. The fact that there have been no adequate investments in agriculture and that we have not engaged our technocrats is the root of the crisis that we are facing. What exactly is the role that politicians who aren’t technocrats are supposed to play in our agriculture ministry?
In the agricultural industry, there is a concept referred to as the value chain. If you produce, you need to also process. Therefore, in order to create juice from oranges, you will need a factory to process the oranges. If you own an orange plantation, you will have this. You should have a factory to turn the cassava into starch, which can then be utilized in the pharmaceutical industry or to create cassava bread or flakes. If you are going to plant cassava, you should have a factory. Cotton is used for everything, including the clothes you wear. Let’s locate the many areas that are ideal for growing a variety of crops, ensure that they are grown in the most ideal soil and are surrounded by the most ideal conditions, and then find the proper technocrats who have a wealth of knowledge in the field. Let them get together, come up with some ideas and a plan, and then proceed to do what is appropriate about the placement of agriculture. It is not in our best interest to import food into Nigeria. As Minister of Agriculture, Akinwumi Adesina, who graduated at the top of her class in agriculture, made the right decisions. I first had the opportunity to work with him on the concept of agribusiness when I was serving as Chairman of the Committee of Deans of Faculties of Agriculture at all Nigerian Universities. Before departing for AfDB, he was scheduled to make a presentation in front of the committee. When he said that agriculture should be run like a company, he made an astute observation. After this step, we will finally have a value chain. If you farm maize, you should find a use for it other simply eating it. This is the idea of the value chain, and there is potential for financial gain at each level, from production to processing to haulage to marketing. In addition, and this is of the utmost importance, we have to place the appropriate individuals in the appropriate jobs. The country of Nigeria is endowed with a sizable population that, if given the chance, is more than capable of changing the country’s fortunes.