“Agriculture is the new oil in my view; we are in a situation where we have a receding oil price and Nigeria” cannot continue to depend on it for revenues, Ada Osakwe, Founder and CEO Agrolay Ventures told CNBC Africa.
She added that the country has over 18 million hectares of arable land saying the country should put that land to good use.
“We have the people, resources, water and a booming consumer market; agriculture should help us rebalance our economy and move things away from oil dependency.”
Osakwe said agriculture is not only about making money but also changing lifes.
Emmanuel Ijewere, Chairman Bestfoods farms lamented the failure to plan and anticipate challenges.
“If we had done what we were supposed to have done many years ago, we wouldn’t be reeling from the fall in oil price,” Ijewere said.
He called on young people to consider venturing into the agriculture space.
“All young people left rural areas were agriculture is practiced into urban areas pursuing sectors such as banking and oil. We have to run three times fast so as to be where we were ten years ago. We need new ideas and new technologies.”
Ijewere says the future is in the hands of the country’s younger generation who have the strength and ideas to innovate in the agriculture sector.
“Our youths are the basic source of change we are looking for. Going forward we need youths to come up with new ideas so we can speed the transition into agriculture,” she added.
Other than food, the sector has the potential to create jobs.
Former President, Goodluck Jonathan, launched the Agricultural Transformation Agenda in 2011.
The initiative sought to add 20 million tonnes of food to domestic food supply by 2015 and create 3.5 million jobs along the agricultural value chains.