The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, said the agriculture sector has the potential to solve the country’s high unemployment rate.
He said between 40 million and 70 million jobs could be created in the sector by empowering small farmers in large numbers across the country.
Speaking when he visited Premier Seeds Nigeria Limited in Zaria, Kaduna State, the speaker further expressed strong belief that with coordinated support from the executive and the legislature for companies that produce and distribute high breed seeds to farmers, the country would become sufficient in food as well as improve living standards of citizens.
He said: “Agriculture has the potential of being the highest employer of labour in this country. If we have small farms springing up across the nation employing from 20 to 25 people, you can imagine if we could have 1 million of those ventures between 40 to 70 million jobs… that could save us a lot of problems in this country and help deal with many issues of insecurity, violence among others.”
Dogara also said if the much desired revolution in the sector was to be achieved, the production and distribution of quality seeds must be given priority attention.
“Gone are the days of our parents when they used to plant grains as seed; apparently we didn’t know that for you to have bumper harvest, it is not every grain that will qualify as the seed which the farmer will plant,” he said.
He also said the active engagement of youths in agriculture would benefit the country, adding that “when people are engaged in agriculture, by the time they come back home, they are so tired that even if they wanted to be terrorists, they wouldn’t have the strength after being on the farm for six hours to carry any gun.”
In a statement by his Special Adviser Media and Public Affairs, Turaki Adamu Hassan, he said: “So this is why we really need to promote agricultural development in this country and as legislators, even those in the executive arm shouldn’t shy away from giving you the support that you need to succeed.”
Dogara commended the Premier Seeds for the work being done to assist the country by equipping farmers and providing them with the right seeds with which they can grow and feed the nation.
He added that the legislature would not hesitate to look at how the government and farmers can collaborate to ensure the latter get quality seeds.