People say that there are no jobs in Nigeria and most places of the world. The above perhaps could be rephrased to mean that “there are not enough jobs in Nigeria”. This is the obvious harsh reality that has hit us so hard. The punches have come so strong like a lion on a helpless prey. Most people tell you “they can’t be jobless”-perhaps a positive mindset that works everywhere but not always in Nigeria. But several years after leaving the university and slapped by this obvious unpleasant reality, some had fallen never to rise again. Some others have been lured into jobs they have no passion or concern for and regret each morning they remember they must go to work and yet others have even regretted why they ever went to school in Nigeria. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), over 23.1% of the Nigerian workforce, that is of course removing old men and women plus children of the country’s population is unemployed. The Federal ministry of Labour and Employment has also cried out that a good percentage of Nigerian graduates are not also employable. So who do we really blame? Nonetheless that’s a story for another day as this article intends to address the question-MUST WE ALL BE EMPLOYED? The idea of business scares a lot of us. Some persons even believe they are not gifted for business and I have met some few others who have argued conveniently that everybody must not do business. Although we all have our arrears of expertize and places where we may not need to do much to thrive, but the truth is, in one way or the other we have been in business, we all are tied to it. Either we would or had helped a family member or a colleague or a friend, every human has the capacity of being entrepreneurial. We all must not be employed. Some of us could actually employ too. The worlds systems and structures over the years are not predictable with its much ups and downs but I have chosen to see gold where others see dust, ashes and sand.
Here in Nigeria since the early 1950s especially around 1956 when oil was discovered in Oloibiri in present Bayelsa state, the emphasis of the Nigerian economy experienced a shift from agriculture to oil. Since independence and the military interventions down to the civilian rules we have had till now, much emphasis has been on oil over the years. This has affected us in so many ways. Again, this is not the meat of the issue so I would not digress further. However a careful look at the pace the Nigerian system and even the world is going now, data, the internet and agriculture is the new oil. If you would agree with me or as you would soon realize these days people use data more than they use oil and there is no single person on earth who does not use or need agricultural products. It is one aspect of the human life that cannot be left untapped. For the basic necessity of man to be conveniently met, Agriculture must play a part.
According to a recent report by Statista.com, in 2018, Nigeria had over 92.3 million internet users and by 2019 it had become 113.3 and presently in 2020 it has hit 134.2. It is projected to hit 187.8 million users by 2023. Everything is going digital and sooner or later the oil economy in Nigeria would further dwindle. In a recent interview with the Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mr. Isa Pantami have quickly agreed that “the new economic reality poses a significant threat to oil-based economies like Nigeria and other economies that depend largely on natural resources” Mr. Pantami said that the NITDA is making efforts to promote smart initiatives in critical sectors such as Health and Agriculture and challenged leaders and policy makers in the country to embrace the opportunities of smart technology and shed the old ways of doing things. I would really like to emphasize the necessity for a change in perception and acceptance of the obvious reality. The world is becoming a global village and I am excited to inform you that agriculture too have evolved through a series of processes. We have lots of Mechanized and Digital Agricultural platforms now where you can easily farm but never go to farm. You decide when and where you farm, the products to farm and when to harvest. Some digital platforms have rollovers where you decide to leave your capital and always collect your interest when due. Whether you decide to go to farm yourself, use machines to work or use digital agro production, the most important thing to note is that agriculture is a business that would never dwindle. It can only be reformed or improved. I am proud to say I am a farmer even as a Nigerian graduate of International Relations and History.
I left the university some two years and few months ago and realized life after school and life in school are two totally different things.
Farming does not sound so much of a good idea for most young stars. Others see it as the poor-old-men-business but the narratives are changing very fast. We all want to make money but don’t all want to labor on soil. I am a few years close to three decades. I had no knowledge of farming what so ever, but I saw the wave. I understood the language of the GREEN ECONOMY. Slightly before I left school, I knew I would really need something to keep me before my service year. I have never liked the idea to work for salary. To me, I see JOB as the Journey Of the Broke. No man can actually be richer than his employer unless of course you have other sources of income. My service year was amazingly inspiring. Everybody around me was a farmer. Fathers training their sons and daughters. I watched children of four, five six years going to farm. I even met a family where a twelve year old boy had his own farm. My motivation grew as the grasses grew around me. I realized how farming could become a raw idea in any given economy of the world. Farming is a very good business. At least I eat and make good money every year from my farms.
Starting is difficult people say, but it would actually cost less than you are thinking. These days you can invest your money in digital farming, sit back home and watch your money grow like grass. Sounds too good to be true? But it is. Guess how much I started with? 19,800 my first ‘alawee’ as a Nigerian corps member but you may not even need up to this amount in some instances. Presently, there are some digital farming that goes as low as 5,000 per share and more. Taking advantage of such means an extra income after harvest.
In 2018 I took a land of one hectare and I used six good hands for my cassava and corn farm. Last year I took two hectares and I used thirteen good hands paying and feeding them each time, based on our agreement. The profit was amazing. Virtually all agro products even after harvest don’t go wasting. So it’s a win win situation. This year by September, I shall begin my Cashew and Plantain plantation in Enugu and Benin respectively. I realized that in some communities in Nigeria especially my village the cashew apple is near to useless compared to the cashew nuts. This is so because most of the villagers eat the apples and hunt for nuts. Almost every family has cashew trees in their farms, back yards and some even grow by themselves. The cashew nut market is a growing one. Creating opportunities for exports, communication and meeting big buyers. In my research I realized how both the nuts and the apples are beneficial to man.
It occurred to me that the more the land, the more the food, the money, the employment and the opportunities. What better thing could a man need from these anywhere in the world? Agriculture is the key. Just start with what you have. Let’s go green.
I am Samson Abah your Diplomatic farmer.