The Vice-Chancellor, Osun State University, Prof. Clement Adebooye, has called on Nigerian farmers to embrace smart agriculture through indirect learning for high yield and greater productivity.
The vice chancellor made the call on Friday during a workshop on Scaling-up Lifelong Learning for policy and decision-makers (permanent secretaries, directors, and general managers).
The workshop was sponsored by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), an intergovernmental organization based in Canada, in conjunction with Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) and Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute (ARMTI).
Adebooye said that with the advent of modern technology, farming has gone beyond the era of hoes and cutlasses to plant, remove weeds, wet seeds, and harvest and urged farmers to upgrade their skills through lifelong learning.
“Smart agriculture needs to be prioritised by farmers through indirect learning so as to have greater productivity,” he stated.
Adebooye urged farmers to plan ahead, for lifelong learning is a teamwork, and appealed to the organizers of the training to involve the relevant stakeholders in lifelong learning.
Director of ARMTI, Dr Olufemi Oladunni, also said the training would benefit food security and agricultural production and support the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Nigeria.
In the same vein, Prof Victor Okoruwa, from Agricultural Economics, University of Ibadan, who spoke on: “Prioritising the value chain for the attainment of SDG of self-sufficiency,” appealed to farmers to ensure that they choose a particular value chain to concentrate on so as to achieve SDGs.
He asked them to prioritise value chain through relevant knowledge to ensure adequate representation and should keep participant numbers.
Also speaking, Adeolu Ayanwale, Professor of Agricultural Economics, OAU, said that the knowledge gap among the farmers was discouraging youths from farming, resulting in lower productivity and welfare among farmers.
“But if lifelong learning persists, there will be a positive change among farmers,” he said.
According to him, the workshop was meant for NGOs, Ministry, Federal and State parastatals, principal officials in agricultural sectors, among others, so as to serve as catalyst to encourage others.
Earlier, Head of Department of Agricultural Economics, OAU, Prof Adebayo Akinola, said the workshop was designed to bring together farmers, learning institutions, banks, and information and communication technology providers to facilitate learning.
According to him, the workshop would empower vulnerable farmers and their families to gain knowledge on skills development, increase their productivity, food security and would liberate agricultural communities from socio-economic constraints.
He assured the participants that lifelong learning for farmers would improve their incomes through quality produce, and increase their livelihoods and eradicate poverty in rural areas.
“This makes it an inevitable tool for rural community development and a means for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals of eradicating hunger and poverty.”