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Oyedepo joins call for rejuvenation of agric sector


Omu-Aran (Kwara) – Bishop David Oyedepo, The Chancellor, Landmark University, Omu-Aran, Kwara, on Friday said Nigeria’s situation required an urgent rejuvenation of agriculture as an alternative to the dwindling oil revenue.

Oyedepo made the assertion during the University’s sixth matriculation ceremony in Omu-Aran, Irepodun Local Government Area of Kwara.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Oyedepo was represented by Prof. Charles Ayo, the Vice-Chancellor of Covenant University, Ota in Ogun.

He spoke on the topic, “Marketing Agriculture to Secure the Destiny of a Nation”.

The chancellor said the crash in crude oil prices globally, with its attendant depreciation of the naira, had further validated calls for Nigeria’s commitment to driving agriculture as a panacea for economic downturn.
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“With the All Share Index (ALSI) and market capitalisation dropping, excess crude account shrinking, foreign reserve dropping and Naira band being devalued, it is obvious the economic outlook for Africa’s largest economy appears to be gloomy.’’

According to him, this is more so with the fall in oil prices.

He said food insecurity had become a major global concern as over one billion people, the world over, were suffering from starvation and malnutrition.

“Regrettably, Nigeria has transitioned from being a self-sufficient country in food to being a worrisome importer of agricultural produce.

“This dire situation calls for urgency in rejuvenating agriculture as a viable alternative to the dwindling oil-dependent economy.

“Nigeria has a land area of 98.3 million ha; 74 million ha of this is good for farming, but less than half is being explored,’’ the chancellor said.

Oyedepo said the nation’s economic situation accounted for the institution’s efforts to become a leading world class University, which would spearhead an agrarian revolution to solve the country’s food insufficiency and poverty challenges.

The University’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Aize Obayan, said the institution had recently embarked on an initiative on its research farm, involving the cultivation of one hectare of rice.

“We actually cultivated the land and planted the rice in September 2015 and by November, we harvested; most of the produce were available in time for Christmas and New Year,” Obayan said.

NAN reports that no fewer than 513 fresh intakes were matriculated by the University for its 2015/2016 academic session at the ceremony.

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