An agriculturist and Vice Chancellor, Prof. Felix Salako, on Thursday identified improved power supply, good roads, value addition to crops and improved extension services as the key to agricultural industrialisation.
Salako, Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, made the observation in an interview with the press in Lagos.
“We can boost the economy through value addition to our crops, creation of market opportunities for our produce and reduction of wastage.
“We can replace oil with agriculture as our main source of revenue if we industrialise the sector, but for industrialisation to succeed, there must be electricity,’’ Salako told press.
He blamed the persistent high cost of locally produced food stuffs on poor power supply and bad rural roads.
“The reason for high cost of production which translates to high cost of commodities in the market compared to imported ones is power deficiency in the country.
“We want to urge government to critically address the issue by tackling the problem of epileptic electricity supply,’’ he said.
Salako also appealed to the Federal Government to provide good roads in rural areas for easy transportation of farm produce from hinterlands to cities.
“Government must provide rural roads to facilitate easy transportation of produce from farms; that way, the cost of the commodities will be reduced in the market,’’ he said.
The vice-chancellor also urged the government to revive Agricultural Development Programmes (ADPs) to restore extension services to farmers for better production.
“One aspect we need to address urgently is our ADPs; government needs to revitalise those centres in each state.
“When the World Bank withdrew from sponsoring the ADPs some years back, the extension aspect of agriculture started going down.
“We need to get back and ensure that our extension agents are active again. Only then will rural farmers know of new agriculture technologies,” he said.
Salako told press that extension service was part of the three core mandates of the university.
He listed the other two as teaching and research.