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Obaseki must reset thinking on Agric

At this very difficult epoch in the lives of Nigerians where the price of foodstuff has reached the moon and mars, nobody in his or…

At this very difficult epoch in the lives of Nigerians where the price of foodstuff has reached the moon and mars, nobody in his or her right elements would be thinking about the cultivation of cash crops like oil palm and cocoa.

What they would be thinking about would be the cultivation of crops like cassava, corn (maize, sorghum, millets) pepper, yam, okra, rice, and the cultivation of those crops that constitute the condiments for a reasonable pot of soup.

How can a person who has not had a good bowl of eba and egusi soup with two pieces of meat, farm cocoa and palm oil trees? How can subsistence farmers plough through the intricacies involved with the cultivation, harvest and the delicate processes involved with the export of cash crops like cocoa and palm oil?

In the length of time that those cash crops so-called would take to be ready for a harvest, what would the people eat? And as a matter of fact, how many Edo people would be that inclined to take on the large scale and very daunting endeavour of cash crops cultivation?

In some parts of the world, especially Malaysia where the government concentrated on the cultivation of palm oil, people became very hungry. That is because the cultivation of palm oil trees and other so-called ‘cash crops’ took up much of the arable land that could have been used for the cultivation of crops for staple meals of Malaysians.

Governor Obaseki’s policy of focusing on these so-called cash crops appears noble and laudable but it is misplaced, unsustainable and therefore should be revised. As he prepares to leave as governor, let him set up a committee to prepare the ground for mass and large-scale cultivation of okra, pepper, yam, egusi, fish, corn, cassava, pumpkin leaves and the like. Edo has rich soil that can support these crops easily.  

Bob MajiriOghene Etemiku wrote via [email protected]

 

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