Farming essentially involves tilling the ground, planting seeds, rearing animals for their meat, milk and (or) other bye-products. The goal is always to provide food on the table or raw materials for industry. In Nigeria, that farming is viewed as a dirty job meant for peasants and paupers is rather ironic and shocking. Back in the days, before the discovery of oil and gas or solid minerals, agriculture as a whole made it possible for cities to be built and urban life to emerge across the globe. Rural life was the norm; plants and animals were neither cultivated nor reared. Food crops were simply picked from the forests and game hunting and fishing provided animal protein for households. When agriculture as a practice was introduced, even with crude tools and implements, it quickly made room for surpluses. This gave rise to development of companies and corporate entities across the agriculture value chain of Seed multiplication, Cultivation or breeding to table size and the Sales/Marketing/Distribution. White collar jobs as well as civilization became a natural consequence as clerks, typists, drivers and machine operators, personnel managers, store and inventory personnel and general managers were needed to keep operations going. Taxes were collected; roads, hospitals and schools were built with it. The story of civilization in Nigeria and other nations of the world would be incomplete without the role played by agriculture as a scientific body of knowledge and as a business.
Fast-forward to the present, farmers are the most prosperous and the most employers of labour in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia. Everywhere else, except Africa of course! Yet Africa cannot feed itself, and Nigeria is its giant. That we can shy away from something as important and significant as what can put food on our tables and provide means of livelihood for people is sad. In the weeks ahead, I would take us through a journey to show reasons why I believe everyone should be a farmer, directly or indirectly. Are my reasons good enough? We shall see again same time next week. Bye for now