By Egufe Yafugborhi
PORT HARCOURT – JOURNALIST, writer and former Nigerian Presidential Spokesman, Olusegun Adeniyi has charged marketers in Nigeria to engage in packaging agriculture as “s3xy” to attract Nigerian youths just as they are attracted to the creative industry.
Adeyini, yesterday at the Annual Marketing Conference & Dinner of the Nigerian Institute of Marketing of Nigeria holding in Port Harcourt, Rivers state, said the imperative to make agriculture attractive to the young people rest with the fact that it is the biggest non oil sector window to advance the nation’s economic.
In a keynote address on “Marketing Nigeria’s non-oil sector for sustainable growth and development”, the guest speaker noted that although Nollywood has been reputed as being second largest employer of labour currently in Nigeria, its growth potentials cannot match that of agriculture.
On how NIMN can help change hearts and minds of majority unwilling youths to embrace agriculture, he said, “The challenge is two-fold. One, how can you as professionals make agriculture sexy, if you like, so as to attract our young people?
“Two, how do you help to sell their products both at home and abroad? From all available figures, the main non-oil exports are dominated by agricultural commodities, with a modest resurgence in minerals.
“For instance, between 2017 and 2018 the value of exports in the cocoa sector increased by 33% to US$317.5 million annually, while within the same period, the value of exports of oil seeds (sesame) increased by 52 percent to US$274.5 million.
“Figures from Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS), first quarter, 2018, revealed earnings of N26.65bn from sesame seeds, N6.03bn from cocoa beans, N23.93bn from fermented cocoa beans, N5.03bn from cashew nuts and N3.45bn from soya beans. Fish, prawns and shrimps also fetched modest sums, as did plants, flower buds and cotton, among others.”
Earlier on the yesterday’s opening day of the event, President of NIMN, Tony Agenmonmen, lamented that Nigerian stakeholders express concern for development of non oil sector only when oil prices are down.
NIMN boss said, “As soon as oil prices start rising again, we go back to our old ways of dependence on the single product called oil. Just like Stone Age ended not because there were no more stones, oil age is also ending pretty soon and it won’t be because there is no more oil.
“Today, the world is going to non oil energy sources. The future ins here. Continuing to depend on oil is like being on a slippery slope. Therefore the theme of this conference is very germane. At the end, we would have some actionable recommendations that are time-bound. We shall present same to government.”