From Gyang Bere, Jos
Plateau State Governor, Simon Bako Lalong has urged Nigerian youths to see agriculture as a business that has huge potential for job creation and employment, rather than a vocation for those who have no opportunity for white collar jobs.
Lalong disclosed this at the maiden convocation of the Plateau State College of Agriculture Garkawa, saying such shift in mindset is necessary because the youths have the capacity to approach agriculture from a perspective of knowledge and research unlike in the past.
“Many youths unfortunately still see farming as a demeaning occupation and would rather stay idle looking for white collar jobs that do not exist. We have trained thousands through PLASMIDA, ITF and other partners, as well as empowered them to establish their farming businesses. Many of them today are doing well and putting food on the table” he said.
Lalong maintained that Plateau State is one of the most blessed destinations in Nigeria and the world with abundant agricultural potentials that are supported by the clement weather and natural endowments.
“Our rescue administration realising this fact, moved swiftly to change the tide by implementing the Development Plan which clearly showed that agriculture, mining and tourism are the key areas of comparative advantage that we need to leverage on to boost the economy of our State. This is more so when we have the natural blessings of unique weather which enables us to cultivate crops that are rare and in high demand” he disclosed.
While congratulating the graduands, the Governor said although the school did not conduct convocation in the past, the Rescue Administration has intervened to ensure that students are not stranded anymore.
He said “An institution such as the Plateau State College of Agriculture plays the very important role of producing the skilled manpower that will interface of farmers and train them on modern farming techniques which give more value. Our Rescue Administration has done a lot to improve the capacity of our farmers to adopt mechanised farming and the application of modern methods which consume less energy and yet provide higher yield.
“We have to mechanize and move away from the hoe and cutlass for better results. Already, we are providing the infrastructure that will ensure that agricultural products are seamlessly evacuated and on time to various markets around the country and elsewhere. This has resulted in the designation of the Yakubu Gowon Airport Heipang as a Cargo Airport by the Federal Government. In addition, we acquired the Inland Container Terminal to also be integrated to the Masterplan for agriculture in Plateau State”.
Lalong tasked the College to work hard in carrying out research and field work that will assist farmers address the challenges of crop diseases, marketing and storage of farm produce as well as mechanised farming which will go a long way in making farming attractive and profitable.
Commissioner for Higher Education Education Prof. Barnerd Matur Malau and his Agriculture counterpart Dr. Hosea Finangwai said the Lalong Rescue Administration has done a lot to improve Higher education in the State through improved funding, infrastructure and manpower.
The Provost of the Plateau State College of Agriculture Garkawa Dr. Madang Dasbak thanked the Governor Lalong for giving the College attention and making sure that the first convocation is held.
He said over the years, the College has offered courses leading to the award of National Diploma, Ordinary National Diploma and Higher National Diploma in various aspects of agriculture. He also explained that the College has proposed 6 programs at HND level awaiting approval by the NBTE.
Chairman of the Governing Council Mr. Stephen Marah also appealed to the Governor to sustain his administration’s commitment to education as it has the potency to change the development trajectory of the State.
The Governor presented awards to 23 graduands who emerged best in various courses.