Revolutionizing the Nigerian Agricultural Sector RNAS
By Emerging Nigerian Leader Russell Ubazoro
My name is Chikezie Russell Ubazoro from Abia state, Nigeria. I am currently a fourth-year student of the department of Maritime Management Technology at the Federal University of Technology Owerri.
Right from my secondary school days, I have been upset with the way things worked in our society. In 2013, I gained admission into the University. My admission was delayed due to the industrial action of the Academic Staff Union of Universities. I really had passion to do something; I mean to do something great, but what it was, I didn’t know.
Surfing through the internet at that moment of dilemma, I came across the Emerging Nigerian Leaders program organized by the Center for Social Awareness, Advocacy and Ethics. I took time to go through the website and I got enough information about this international organization. I was convinced that the organization represented my interests, passion and desires. Discovering the Center for Social Awareness, Advocacy and Ethics brought great relief to my aspiration. I applied and luckily was selected. Meanwhile, I was full of expectations after being inducted into the program alongside other undergraduate students from various universities and higher institutions across Nigeria. My desire remained to quench that burning curiosity, to know what I wanted and how to achieve it.
My first Emerging Nigerian Leaders Foundation Conference at Star Arrivals hotels at Owerri, Imo state in 2014 answered these questions. The resource persons stood on the podium to talk about the several challenges facing the nation and some ways in which these could be tackled, but what got to me most was Mr. James Elekwachi’s presentation on agriculture. I knew that was it. Agriculture in my opinion is a sector that can solve majority of Nigeria’s problems. How can a citizen respect the law and the government when the she can hardly afford two square meals in a day due to high cost of food materials? How can one be creative and innovative when she lacks the proper nourishment? Ironically, Nigeria employs foreign expatriates to feed our more than one hundred and seventy million citizens. The youths view agriculture as an energy sapping, unprofitable and dirty venture. Thoughts such as these in my mind convinced me that innovative agriculture is the only key to unlock the economy of the populous African nation.
My aim was to come up with ideas, some of which were adapted from research on agricultural production in developed countries. My research interests focused on vertical farm, the Lactobacillus and the mushroom project. For a start, I decided to start up with the mushroom project. Obviously, this project has enormous benefits. It is an alternative protein source, with emphasis on zero cholesterol. Unlike the popular beef or red meat, the mushroom has great ability to fight cancerous cells. Growing mushroom can be one easy venture to provide employment and good income for Nigerian youths. The initial capital for take-off of mushroom production is reasonably minimal. Importantly, the production of mushrooms makes use of agricultural wastes which could be hazardous to the already fragile ecosystem.
As it stands, I am currently working on establishing a commercial production of organic mushroom under controlled conditions. My goal is to provide zero cholesterol protein to Nigerians and to train Nigerian youths on self-sustenance through innovative agriculture. The Center for Social Awareness, Advocacy and Ethics has been the principal sponsor of the project.