Former Vice-President of the World Bank, Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili, on Friday lauded the Federal Government’s emphasis on agricultural development in the country.
Ezekwesili in Lagos said that the focus on agricultural development was doing a lot to empower farmers across the country.
She added that the current emphasis had redirected the focus of more than 60 per cent of the population into agriculture and related businesses.
“I think the emphasis that government is giving to agriculture and agribusiness is very good. I applaud them (officials) for the emphasis on agriculture, agribusiness and enhancing productivity.
“Because, frankly, already we have more than 60 per cent of our citizens in agriculture.
“So, if you want to tackle poverty, go to the sector where the people who are mostly poor are operating, and it’s in agriculture.
“So, you go to that informal sector of agriculture, you provide them with the kind of tools and the kinds of facilities, the extension services, the links to the market, the seeds and inputs, the access to credit.
“The better business environment, all of these add together to improve their productivity, and therefore, will improve their income.
“Because when you enhance the income of the farmers, what it means is that they have more money that they can spend even in offering education to their children.
“So that circle of activities is so important for taking the entire society out of poverty.
“You don’t lift people out of poverty; you give people what they need in order to lift themselves out of poverty.’’
She also urged the government at all levels to make more efforts to boost agricultural development in the country in order to reduce the rate of poverty. (NAN)