The policies of this present government in Nigeria is to ban the importation of food, be self-sufficient, make farming attractive for the youths and make them less independent of white-collar jobs.
The government can only achieve these if the youths at their early life, are exposed to the nitty-gritty of farming, make our education practicable, creative and workable thus the introduction of the teaching of Entrepreneurship in the Schools’ Curriculum.
These, Methodist Boys’ High School Victoria Island key into in their teaching. And to make these realisable, the School on 7th of April, 2019 embarked on an Excursion to the Republic of Benin to visit SONGHAI FARM located in Port-Novo.
Port-Novo, otherwise known as Ajase- Ipo in the Old Oyo Empire is a historical town that was made popular by her involvement in the then Slave Trade. And her port was named Port-Novo by the French who made use of the place. Port-Novo of today has become a tourist town as a result of the highly mechanised Farming activities going in the town.
Sometimes in 1980, the idea to establish an agro-allied farm in Africa came from a Nigerian Catholic Priest and a Lecturer at University of Califonia by name Father Godfrey Uzamujo. Father Godfrey Uzamujo from IMO State brought the idea to Nigeria with the intention of establishing the Agro-Allied Farm here in the Country but he was rejected with his lofty ideas.
For his intention to liberate Africa from hunger despite all the natural resources we are blessed with, Father Uzamujo left Nigeria in annoyance and headed to the Republic of Benin where the late President Matthew Kerekou accepted him and gave him over 22 hectares of lands to start what is now known as SONGHAI FARM, a world-acclaimed First Class Agro-Allied Farm.
Where do I start?
The waste, such as domestic wastes, even our faeces that have so far become a health hazard to us here in Nigeria has been turned to Bio-Gas Energy that is being used to power their Electricity. Methane Gas is effective in almost all sector of their Agricultural activities. Whereas in our country this has become so problematic to the environment and our aquatic survival.
The farm has gone as far as the production of Cooking Gas through the same process. Used Plastics are recycled to produce new products such as buckets, dustbins etc.
The Farm does not make use of Inorganic Fertilizer that is known to be so injurious to our health and the land. Instead, the Farm makes use of Compost Manure which is produced on the Farm.
Farming activities are made so attractive even to the younger ones that we brought from highbrow Victoria Island to the place. This is made possible through the production of Farm Machineries that are fabricated through recycled metal wastes.
My interview with Father Godfrey Uzamujo showed that the Nigerian Government is not ready for the kind of Agricultural Revolution that is ongoing in a tiny country such as the Republic of Benin. He said he made attempt to establish this kind of Farm in more than 18 states in Nigeria but he doubts the sincerity of those in power to make the efforts to be fruitful.
Where do we got it wrong if we could not feed ourselves because of corruption, unnecessary bottlenecks created for those Nigerians and foreigners who have a genuine interest of establishing such Farms and Industries that would have increased economic activities of the Country?
Both the State and the Federal Governments should see the example of Father Godfrey Uzamujo as a big challenge, sit down with him to reciprocate these farming activities in his fatherland. Though he was once rejected, the present Government can partner with him to have the Farm established in all the States that are yet to have one.
Seeing is believing, the numbers of visitors both local and foreign, Students and Agricultural Agents/Extension Workers that visit the SONGHAI FARM attested to the success of Father Uzomujo’s success of the revolution in Agric.
To us in Methodist Boys’ High School, Victoria Island, Lagos, we have seen this as the right steps towards achieving the sustainable entrepreneurial life for the Students. We promise to keep the flag flying even as we journey back to our Country Nigeria and make use of the experience gained.
GOD BLESS OUR COUNTRY!