Former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, has revealed how he started his farming business as an apprentice after retiring as the Head of State in 1979.
He disclosed that he went to 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 retired in 1979.
He gave the revelation while answering a question after giving a lecture at the University of Ibadan on Saturday.
The Eminent Persons Lecture was organized by institution’s School of Business.
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.
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.
He said: “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.”
A participant had suggested that a farming method should be developed for youths in commercial motorcycling (okada riders) to allow them participate in farming at their spare times usually between 10 am and 3pm daily.
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.
“I went into IAR&T for three months to learn agriculture for three months before starting farming after I left as Head of State. 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.”
Obasanjo also expressed his willingness to mentor young farmers where possible.
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