The urgent need for Nigeria to more than ever diversify its economy to alternative sectors with comparative advantage particularly, agriculture which has been the mainstay of its economy even before the discovery of oil has been emphasized.
The Executive Director, Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute, Ilorin, ARMTI, Dr Olufemi Oladuni, made the call while speaking with newsmen in Ilorin on the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on agriculture and the economy.
Dr Oladuni observed that for a country which depend so much on earnings from the sale of crude oil, there would be dwindling in national revenue thereby resulting in poor funding of key sectors of the economy including a sharp drop in the luxury livelihood of citizens.
He said that the effect of Coronavirus on the economy can be mitigated through encouraging agriculture, consumption of locally produced goods, the export of processed products including crude oil and fixing the power sector.
The ARMTI Executive Director also advocated wider adoption of organic agriculture, which according to him the inputs are cheap and capable of improving the soil structure and produces healthy food for human consumption.
Dr Oladuni who applauded Federal Government for categorizing agricultural activities as essential service stressed the need to allow it continue despite the current lockdown but with strict adherence to the safety principles of hand washing, use of sanitizer, face mask and social distancing among others.
Now is the time for lettered farmers and other agricultural practitioners to explore the innovation that social media provides for the marketing of their produce, he said.
Dr Oladuni maintained that agriculture remains one of the sectors whose activities must not be hindered because people and animals need food to survive no matter the nature of the pandemic.
Abdulrazaq Bello, Ilorin