MAKING AGRICULTURE MORE ENTERTAINING TO NIGERIANS
Is Agriculture tedious? I believe we all know the answer to that rhetorical question. Is it entertaining? That is not a matter to argue but it is worthy of discussion. We all know that all works in life are tedious, time-consuming, and exasperating, yet the agricultural practice is the most tedious occupation anyone can venture into. And now the government is begging the agile youths not to abandon the only sector that can save the country, to understand this, the story needs to be told about what led to the abandonment in the sector from the beginning.
Oil was first discovered in the 1950s and Nigeria got dependent on the oil industry and in the 1970s when oil prices rose to an average of $40 per barrel in the ’80s, the whole country left everything behind. The government started building a lot of infrastructures in the major cities prompting more people to leave the stressful and chaotic rural lives in search of better and greener pastures. Agriculture was almost abandoned and this led to underdevelopment and lower growth of rural communities with an adverse effect on agriculture. This phase of progress was short-lived because the price of crude oil fell drastically to about $20 per barrel and hence, the inception of our problems as a country. The government didn’t make the transition easy because most of the projects it embarked upon during the time of the short boom were liabilities and not assets. Having tasted the ease and finesse the other sectors offer when it comes to making money, most of the working population refuses to go back to the more accommodating and less competitive agricultural sector. No wonder more people are still migrating from the rural areas to the urban areas in search of less cumbersome jobs that can provide food on the table.
Presently with the rate at which the country’s population is growing and the forecasts about the world’s population ranking by 2050, all hands must be on deck in order to ensure that we don’t go hungry. All measures need to be taken, no stone needs to be left unturned. Although the government is trying its best to save the day and also the future, I believe there is more to be done.
What if there is a synergy between the Entertainment and the Agriculture industries? Entertainment is essential to human existence; it gives us a sense of enjoyment, recreation, relaxation, fulfillment, and conviction that one is living a good life. The Entertainment industry is a vital piece of Nigeria’s economic puzzle; it is worth billions of dollars. One of these two aforementioned industries has evolved and it is self-sustaining, it is very modern and dynamic. I believe in order to make farming and agricultural practices look and seem less tedious, we need to infuse more entertainment into it. This will also get more youths involved directly and indirectly. There is more to agriculture than farming, a list of agricultural value-chains will be unlocked if sub-sectors of entertainment like dance, comedy, music, film, theatre and so many more are infused. It will lead to youth development and empowerment; giving chances to youths who are unable to exploit their full potentials.
Some people may want to argue or protest the point made in the last paragraph about the jobs already being done to amalgamate the two sectors. Well not until I see an a-list entertainer like Davido, Timi Dakolo, Bovi, Ayo Makun, OC Ukeje, Adesua Etomi, Odunlade Adekola, and the likes appear at Agricultural events like Agra-innovate West Africa, Nigerian Poultry and livestock expo (NIPOLI), Feed Africa Agric Expo, etc. We need to learn and inculcate new progressive ways to do things if we really want positive changes. For instance, the Agro-food 2019 held last year in Sri-Lanka had social gatherings on its menu which include cultural dinner.
We have to prepare for the future; we have to be more pro-active when it comes to developing the agricultural sector. Nigeria as a country needs to produce what it consumes and in order to be able to achieve this, we need to find different ways to reduce rural-urban migration and one of the best ways to do this is to make agriculture more entertaining to rural dwellers.