Nigerian youths have been charged to embrace agriculture and take advantage of the enormous opportunities that abound in it, as a spring-board to economic success. Making this disclosure at the Business Excellence Summit (BES), held in the University, themed: “Agri-Business: The Real Deal”, the Staff Adviser of BES team, Dr. Elizabeth Oluwalana, of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Farm Management, College of Agricultural Management and Rural Development (COLAMRUD), stated that agriculture was the pathway to success in Nigeria and as such, challenged young entrepreneurs to be innovative and come up with ways of solving agricultural problems by promoting the practice of the profession.

According to her, “In Africa and Nigeria in particular, there are lots of agricultural problems that need solution, and as entrepreneurs, the key concern is to identify these problems and proffer solutions to them”. Dr. Oluwalana, who noted that students of the University were better positioned to fill that missing gap, as a result of the training they received as students in a University of Agriculture, said: “To ward-off famine in Nigeria, student must be interested and love agriculture, so that Nigeria can return to the period of the groundnut pyramid and food surplus”.

Delivering the Summit’s Lecture, titled: “Agri-Business: The Real Deal”, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Nigeria Enterprise Project, Mr. Dele Osunmakinde, disclosed that “the next big thing in Nigeria is not oil or information technology. It is agriculture and that is why you must be interested in the agriculture value chain”. According to him, Nigeria has a ready market for stable foods produced in the country with a huge population of over 180 million people, who depend on stable food and buy stable food supply from the market. Mr. Osunmakinde, who admonished participants not to despise days of little beginning, charged them to start small by utilising free pieces of lands around them and watch their supply chain grow. He added that in the United States of America, farmers fall among the percentage of five richest people, while he highlighted some lucrative businesses that participants could embark upon to include rice, bean, plantain, pineapple, maize and cassava farming, as well as goat, snail, poultry and cattle-rearing.

The Convener of the Summit and a 400-level student in the Department of Business Administration, College of Management Science (COLMAS), Miss Oluwatobi Adesina, disclosed that the Business Excellence Summit was targeted at developing entrepreneurial skills among youths and students in tertiary institutions with a view to stirring up the dormant business ideas and entrepreneur power within them. At the event, there was a panelist session, where established entrepreneurs such as Barr. Kayode Akinsola, CEO, Queens Attorney; Mr. Samson Odegbami, Managing Partner, Driving Solutions; Miss Gladys Ajiri, CEO Brookhouse Interiors; Mr. Yinka Babalola, CEO, Ideas Hub; and Mr. Sijuade Otegbeye, Chairman, Institute of Strategic Management, Nigeria (ISMN), Ogun State Chapter; enlightened participants on the rudiments of becoming an established business-owner while exhibition of value-added herbal products, fabric bags and accessories took place at the summit.