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Obasanjo – Nigeria’s Unemployment level, A Time Bomb

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said that the rate of unemployment in Nigeria is a ticking time bomb. He made this statement while delivering the 16th Annual Lecture of the Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute in Ilorin, Kwara State on Thursday.

He identified the development of the agricultural sector as not only capable of providing massive jobs for the country’s teeming   youths but boosting the foreign exchange earnings. Obasanjo said, “The number of Nigerian universities is going to about 150 now, we have a problem. The students coming out of the universities do not have hope of getting employment. This means we are sitting on a keg of gun powder. An idle hand is the devil’s workshop. But a hopeless idle hand is a tinder box.”

Obasanjo, who spoke on ‘Managing agriculture as a business: A practitioner’s perspective,’ said agriculture should be seen as business. He said in Nigeria, the development of agriculture and its ability to become the lifeline of the economy were threatened by the low capacity of agrobusiness owners to manage their enterprises.

He added that the trend could be reversed if  agrobusiness operators began to   acquire  management skills for their businesses. He advised   Nigerian farmers and agro-business owners to take advantage of the services provided by ARMTI in order to advance in the sector. Obasanjo said that the impression that agriculture is a pastime requiring little or no business and management skills should be discarded.

The former president, who added that there should be focus on the business side of agriculture, stated that as the world continued to evolve, there existed a number of opportunities for developing agriculture as a business.He noted that a critical opportunity was the rapid growth in world population. According to him, current estimates indicate that there are over seven billion people in the world today, all of who depend on one agricultural produce or the other to survive.

He noted that yet, nearly one billion people have no access  to adequate food and nutrition Obasanjo said, “In less than four decades  from now, world population is expected to grow to over nine billion, significantly increasing the demand for food and other agricultural produce.  Some projections show that global food production would need to jump to 70 per cent or 100 per cent to feed a population of nine billion in 2050.

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