A Professor of Rural Sociology, Kolawole Adebayo, says Nigeria will benefit from the recent border closure if it evolved strategies to improve local production and become more competitive.
He said this on Tuesday at the maiden Biennal Conference of Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology (OYSCATECH) in Igboora.
Adebayo, the keynote speaker at the conference, is also the Team Leader, International and Rural Development at Livelihoods Support and Development Centre.
Adebayo said that the recent border closure was a short term solution to a long term problem, adding that such effort would only prevent neighbouring nations from flooding Nigeria market with agricultural products in a short term.
“Border closure is a short term solution to a long term problem. It means that in the short run our neighbours will not be able to flood our market with agricultural products.
“But it is not a long term solution because we can’t close the border forever. When you close the border, what are we doing locally so that by the time we open the border you become more competitive.
“And one of the ways to become more competitive is to reduce the cost of production locally. So, if the food we produce locally are cheaper than the food that are being smuggled in, people will naturally gravitate towards our own local food.
“But if the smuggled food is cheaper, it is a law of economics, people tend to buy something that makes economic sense to them,” he said.
He stressed the need for the country to work on its human development, people, their mindset and value system, a lot of which he said might have been lost.
Adebayo lamented the rate at which everyone thinks of what they would get from the nation and not how they could contribute to national development.
“And I think it comes from our school system. The kind of value we teach our children. I will like to see a country where the richest among us are the most productive,” he said.
He said that the challenges of food security are multidimensional, bordering on production, supporting infrastructure and human.
Prof. Gbemiga Adewale, the former Rector of the institution and special guest, appreciated Gov. Seyi Makinde on the rehabilitation of the old farm settlements in the state to become farm estates.
“The advantages of the farm estates will solve a lot of problem that has to do with employment of the youth. It will also solve the problem of food security, food sufficiency and will be able to provide raw materials for agro allied industries.
“And on the part of the state, it will also assist to raise or increase GDP of the state as well as IGR for the state, so that they depend less on monthly federal allocation for smooth running of the administration,” he said.
Prof. Abiodun Ayodele, the Dean, Faculty of Science, University of Ibadan, said for the nation to attain food sufficiency, it must be ready to solve the conflicts in various parts of the country.
He said that the nation must take cognizance of causes of natural disasters such as desertification and flooding, saying such could be achieved through good and conscious sustainable agricultural systems.
Ayodele stressed that there must be more focus on improved livestock production to enhance quality in terms of protein intake towards foods sufficiency.
Mr Isiaka Adekunle, the acting Rector of the institution, said the conference was aimed at providing a platform to improve teaching horizon, interact, exchange ideas and learn new innovations.
He said that for any academic staff of the institution to get promoted attendance at conferences was germane, adding failure to meet such would make them remain stagnant.
Adekunle said that the conference was also an opportunity to showcase what they have in different disciplines across the faculties of the institution.
Other stakeholders at the conference in their various remarks commended Dr Taiwo Akinyemi, the Director, OYSCATECH Global Consult for the initiative.
The three-day event also featured an exhibition of several agricultural products of the institution.