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African Development Bank (AfDB) President, Akinwumi Adesina has made it clear before Nigerian youths that agriculture remains the important and lucrative venture in the continent’s economic development.
The Doctor of Agricultural Economics made the assertion while receiving the honorary Doctorate of Science, conferred on him by the Federal University of Agriculture in Abeokuta on Tuesday.
The University said the award was in honor of Adesina’s work in agriculture and food security across the continent.
Lauding the choice of Adesina as the institution’s 2020 awardee, the Chancellor, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi-Otu, described him as a global household name whose exploits in promoting value chain addition in agricultural produce have remained unparalleled.
In his acceptance speech, Adesina commended the Nigerian government’s efforts to promote agriculture and agribusiness in Nigeria.
“Agriculture is the most important profession and business in the world,” Adesina said.
The Bank head pledged to continue the work of transforming Nigeria’s agriculture sector.
“The size of food and agriculture in Africa will rise to $1 trillion by 2030. The population of Africa, now at 1.2 billion, will double to 2.5 billion by 2050. They all must eat. And only through food and agribusiness can this be achieved,” he added.
Adesina said the African Development Bank was spearheading efforts to feed Africa and was investing $25 billion over a ten-year period to transform the continent’s agriculture sector. What Africa does with food will determine the future of food, given that 65% of the arable land left to feed the world is here, Adesina said.
“I am delighted to see so many of our young people engaged in agriculture arising from the Youth Employment in Agriculture initiative launched when I was minister to get the youth into agriculture as a business. From their innovations in the use of drones, food processing, packaging, transport and logistics and marketing, they are already unlocking the opportunities in agriculture,” he said.
The bank chief therefore urged agricultural universities to optimize their role in linking research, innovations and technologies to farmers and the food and agriculture industry.
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