Mr Sola Adeleke is the Chief Business Consultant of Ridges and Furrow Agro Concept an Agro based Industry. The IITA Trained expert on crop production is this interview spoke on how government can influence youths participation in Agriculture and how to make money through Agric.
You’re the Chief Business Consultant of Ridges and Furrow , can you let us into what the company is all about and your achievements so far.
In Ridges and Furrow Agro Concept, we are trying to build a gap between people that doesn’t know about agriculture.A lot of people don’t know what farming entails, we have a lots of crops they can venture into, lots of consumers, and demands. We want them to know the value and make money. Aside Oil and Gas, Agriculture is a good platform to make money.Our vision is to make everybody realize the fact that in Agriculture, there is a future for this country. Already we have about a thousand hectares of land where we plant cassava, vegetable, Soya beans and we have farms in Ogun State, Oyo, Kwara and we’ve employed over 100 workers including expert in various field, technicians as well as operators. We also consult for other Commercial Agricultural firm.
You are an advocate of Youth involvement in Agriculture, can you shed more lights on the reasons for your position.
My advocacy is causes by the need for government to reduce the increaaing rate if unemployment through Agriculture, It is a natural way of making money and people can be engaged both on full and part time basis. Considering what is happening in Nigeria today where we have a lot of unemployed youths in the country the only way is to go back to the basics to make us know the nitty-gritty behind modern and commercial agriculture.
In this wise, if government or individual that have fund that can be used for good Agriculture, their involvements will not only reduces unemployment rate but also have economic impact on the society. If the government can provide basic amenities that will make the farmers enjoy the same thing being enjoyed in the urban centre a lot of people will be encourage They will stay focus, be contented and do what they are to do. Since they’re looking for money, they will make real money in Agriculture so they can benefit individually and benefit the society at large.
Apart from the facilities How government can help the Youth involvement in Agriculture.
The only way government can come in is to get the round peg in the round hole. Engage people that knows the onus of Agriculture so they can quickly do the right thing that will enhance skills acquisition and participation, They will take them through the rudiments as well as ensure government policies are properly implemented. A lot of govt program are laudable initiatives but when it come to implementation, you will see failures because most of those in charge are political farmers, they don’t understand what it takes to run an effective policies of government
Also, the way they see Agriculture from afar is that it’s very tedious, dirty but it’s not like that. We should make the youths realize it’s a job they will enjoy. They should create passion and I want to believe they will like it, because if they really enjoy what they’re enjoying in the urban in the rural area, like the internet, Cable television, Electricity, Water Supply, Good roads, if they are available, the youth will stay. They can make money in a short term, medium and long term which will make them stay.
Finances is one of the major impediments and it takes months before seed germinates how do you think farmer can survive
In Agriculture, we have plants that can bring money in short term like 2 – 3months, we have Maize, Cowpea, Vegetables that can be cultivated and will yield good money.We have Medium plants like Cassava that can yield money in 9 months and above. We also have Long perennial plants like Cashew, Banana, Cocoa that we have to wait a little bit before it yeild. Short time plants like, Ewedu, Water Melon, Carbage, Cucumber Vegetables can yield money in few weeks and be available in the market both within and outside. The volume of demands for the crops could not even be satisfied within the country.
Also Government give loans and grants, and adequate result are not been given.Loans sometimes doesn’t get to the farmer when there are no proper monitoring and evaluation. The government is suppose to do baseline survey to know the problem arising in Agriculture to know what the farmers face and know when to come in.
Money is not enough, do you know what a farmer use in cultivating an hectare of cassava or maze? we call it economic cost. Give them good seeds, merchinaries, fertilizers, and already tractored lands where they can farm.
Like we did in the old western region, Create a board and market for a particular crop, so the board can buy from the farmers specialized in the crop.
So many people are not aware
Government should use all avenue to create awareness about modern and commercial Agriculture. It’s enormous. Commercial Agriculture don’t depend on rain fell, and we have to cultivate the habit of irrigation whereby you can continue farming even when rain stops. If the government create market everything is going to be OK.