FG Urged to Invest in Agri-tech to Increase Productivity

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The Vice Chancellor of Mountain Top University (MTU), Prof. Elijah Ayolabi, has called on federal government to integrate technology into various agricultural policies to boost productivity across the value chain.

This, he said would help make agriculture more attractive to youths, noting that the trend has gone beyond using physical strength to feed the world.

The vice-chancellor disclosed this to THISDAY, during a recent interview. He said, “you cannot be using cutlass and holes and expects to feed the nation.”

According to him, “what they call agriculture is not agriculture but hard work, but the technology required really do you see the government involved in it and that is the area the government has to be involved.

“In as much as what you do still rely on human physical strength; I do not regard that as agriculture. If you go to countries like Isreal, you will see what is called agriculture; because technology has to be put in place for it, which you hardly see except for selected farms in Nigeria.
“You cannot be using holes, cutlass, and human hands and then you think you would produce enough quantity of food to feed the nation it does not work that way.

“But when you deploy machine to assist you in the practice of agriculture you will see enough food would be produced to feed the country; not only that, but also as a source of generating foreign exchange for the nation through export of this foods to other countries, because we have the land.”
On his experience in accessing a tractor, he said, “we wanted to get a tractor, but by the time they gave us the bill, it is like in the next 10 years we will be paying debt to plough our land. That is not supposed to be. This is what ought to be done within reasonable price.

“In terms of technology government have to be actually involved to provide the needed technology to drive the agricultural sector especially in terms of irrigation, tractor and some other aspects.”

On making Agriculture attractive for youths, he said with technology it will be very easy to convince the youths to get involved because is not going to be hard labour.

“You cannot tell somebody with first degree to go to the farm and still be using hole and cutlass, that is hard labour. There is no youth that want to do that now. But if there is technology, he knows that at the press of the button, things would be done well in the farm.”