Nigeria’s Ex- President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has taken a trip down memory lane, recalling how he started as an apprentice after retiring as the Head of State in 1979.
He spoke at a lecture in the University of Ibadan on Saturday on the topic: “Agribusiness: Time to act ”
He disclosed that he enrolled at the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan to learn the art of farming as an apprentice for three months shortly after he left office.
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He recalled that his teachers at the institute initially had problem treating him as a student or apprentice but that he insisted that he should be addressed and treated as a student and an apprentice because that was the only way to enjoy the teaching-learning process.
” I cleaned chicken house. I fed chicken. That is how to be a farmer. Anything less won’t do. You can’t be a successful farmer without being an apprentice.”
The former president explained that no matter how learned or how many degrees one has, it requires learning as an apprentice, deep interest and passion to go into farming and succeed.
“There must be interest and passion for people to go into agriculture and succeed in it. We must get it right. We have to glamourize and incetivize farming to keep people that are interested in agriculture in the business.”
The former president said no plan to take people into agriculture will work except the people have passion for farming and are willing to learn the art of farming first.
Obasanjo expressed his willingness to mentor young farmers where possible.
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The Ex-President recently recalled that his journey into farming started as early as when he was 5 years old.
“I have many fond memories of my childhood in a small farming settlement near Abeokuta, the capital of Nigeria’s Ogun State. By the age of five, I was accompanying my papa to the fields where we grew cassava, maize, plantain, oil palm and other crops. A proud Yoruba man, my father was considered the most successful farmer in our village. While living with few modern amenities, we grew plenty of food, and we enjoyed the cultural wealth of our Yoruba traditions and history.”