Governor of Osun, Rauf Aregbesola, has once called on Nigerians to curb their excessive appetite for foreign foods and fabric.
Aregbesola also said it is more pertinent now to practise birth control as panacea to poverty reduction in this economic recession.
The governor made these observations while playing host to the youth of the state, who have just returned from Germany after two months of intensive training in modern agricultural techniques.
He said the state government decided to send the youths for the agriculture programme to boost food productions in the state.
The 20 youths that returned last week were the second batch of the exchange programme on agriculture between Osun and the German state of Saxony-Anhalt.
The two-month intensive agricultural programme, which included modern techniques in crop cultivation, animal husbandry, cattle rearing, poultry and piggerry, cost the state N61 million while the State of Saxony-Anhalt expended N29.9 million.
Aregbesola said the youths will impact positively and significantly on the mode of agricultural practice as massive food production.
He added that in addition to the knowledge the youth garnered in agriculture, the youths also learnt the German language which also stands them in good stead internationally.
“The reality today is that Nigeria is in economic crisis. Apart from the fact that the nation’s economic mainstay, oil, is now cheap on the international market, our production capacity too has reduced significantly due to the activities of the Niger Delta Avengers.
“Besides, we also face food crisis and if we are unable to feed ourselves, then there is problem.
“We believe, as a government, that we must produce what we consume. The first panacea out of the food crisis is for us as a people to drastically curb our excessive taste for foreign foods.
“We should patronise our locally produced foods rather than spend huge but scarce foreign exchange on importation of rice.
“Apart form this, now is also the time for our people to practise birth control and control our population. This will go in no small measure in reducing poverty in the land,” Aregbesola said.
He noted that government is renovating all dilapidated agricultural equipment and has also enlisted with the Federal Government’s programme to import tractors and other agricultural machines from China.
He noted that this equipment will help farmers in production activities so as to guarantee huge food production.
He promised that government will assist the youths financially according to its capacity but advised them not to fold their hands until such assistance comes.
One of the participants of the programme, Orewole Latifat form Ife Central Local government, said the Germans are able to produce more than enough for their country not by population but by the deployment of equipment to do nearly all the farming activities.
She said that with the knowledge they have acquired, they were ready to replicate what they saw and learnt while in Germany.
“We also want to embark on agriculture on our return. If we have all the modern tools at our disposal, we also will work diligently.
“We learnt in Germany that what those farmers are doing, they are deriving satisfactions from it. We believe that given the conducive atmosphere, we also can get satisfaction in farming,”Orewole said.
Another trainee, Abiri Tomiwa Rachel from Ife Central Local Government, thanked the government for giving them the opportunity to go to Germany to learn modern agricultural practice.
Tomiwa, who specialised in cattle rearing said if Nigeria can emulate the German system of animal rearing, the crisis between Fulani herds men and farmers would be a thing of the past.
According to her, the technique of feed formulation being used in developed nation is absent in Nigeria, saying if this is introduced, there will be increase in cattle production as well as end to farmers-herds men crisis.
One of the mothers of the trainees, Mrs. Abiri (Tomiwa’s mother) commended Governor Aregbesola for the training given to the youths.
She said that such programme whereby government sponsor youths in a state without their parent contributing a dime is very rear.
“You have demonstrated that you a father of all by this programme. We salute you for this and we pray that God will continue to bless you.
“You did what no government has done and we are proud of you. We are also soliciting for your further assistance for them so that they can start on their own what they went there to learn,” Mrs. Abiri said