One fact I’d like to highlight to you this morning in industrial agriculture is that it only works in advanced societies. Industrial agriculture is like a complex device or a system of complex devices – several things will have to work in sync before the system can function smoothly over years. And note the words – work smoothly, work in sync, work over years.
You must have the peculiar agricultural banking and insurance in place ever before we go into the field.
There must be a solid government standby to provide extension services, assign quotas and funds to absorb surpluses otherwise prices will crash and like dominoes, destroy your agricultural banking, leasehold, lease-to-purchase and insurance structures.
The farmers themselves must be involved full time and must be resident right on the farm, not in Maitama or Victoria Island; not even a mile away!
Farmers’ cooperatives must work. In Brazil, there is a farmer’s cooperative that owns about 250,000-head piggery. They also have a massive bank and several airstrips of their own for operating their many airplanes.
So, we are talking about serious issues here. Brazil’s beef export is around $13 billion dollars. Cocoa originated in that country but it has strategically stopped cocoa exports and confined the market to domestic consumption . . .we will discuss that another day under national strategic agricultural land use policy.
Farmers’ cooperatives must be run by serious minded people, scientists, economists, engineers, development people and people who understand political participation and strategy so they can advance their common interests. We are talking about managing assets in billions of dollars. Farmers’ cooperatives run their own research facilities.
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The equipment leasing people must be ready and you must have a good stock of spares and capable repairmen and sane operators.
There must be a water and irrigation policy that works,backed by he necessary infrastructure of dams, levees, channels, canals, booms, a motley of mobile water lifting devices.
Soil laboratories with ample spread is a must. In Kenya, they even have many mobile soil labs and they attend comprehensively be to farmers.
Government must never play politics with farmers. They are not people you punish for not voting for your party and such pettiness and if you mess with them, your economy will simply go under.
Security on farms must be something you take for granted.
So, where do we go from here? Well, there is enough food for thought on this table for everyone, no matter your field and line of thinking. But this is the to-do list and there aren’t ways around them. They demand that society be organised, that people be truthful and that the terrain be safe from crimes.
That is the way you can save the billions of dollars of Forex we chase foreign foods with, create real, sustainable jobs and optimize our resources as a people. It will guarantee feedstock to applicable industries and make food security a thing we can take for granted, address protein ration issues for children, nursing and pregnant women thereby ensuring that the next generation have had excellent brain development. We can go on, can’t we?