About 30 years ago, as an agricultural student in a college of education, we were all assigned a portion of farm land to be cultivated. Then no issue of gender can influence your portion, participation or expectations.In fact the slang then was ‘no female agriculturist’, all are males.
Then our Dean and the teacher in charge of agronomy would threaten us that if we employ an external hands to help clear or make our ridges the person will be arrested and be charged to court.We were expected to work in twos. My friend Sadia and i decided to be partners both on the farm and in studying.We felt we could work better though we are ladies unlike some other ladies who joined themselves to men for many reasons one of which is not far-fetched- strength to till the land.
Then i discovered that to have a will and a purpose is far stronger than artillery. That was not to say we enjoyed it, rather the instinct to achieve the purpose of our going to school. That is how to be a true NIGERIAN. Up till but the last plot of land we worked on, my group led the whole class on farm practicals. The last one came as a conspiracy which i won’t like to go into now. And it was glaring to all it was a conspiracy. Any way where am i going? Then we were exposed to a seminar where a professor from University of Ibadan came as guest lecturer. After his delivery there was a question about use of hoes, cutlasses and other local implements for farming. The lecturer told us that even in UI, this is mostly used and will continue to be used. Some of us then determined never to continue the pursuit of Agriculture or do it elsewhere where that is not the norm.
Then, we saw in books farming with the use of small and heavy machines, we saw in textbooks silos, farm houses where farmers are more comfortable and enjoy their work and even well paid. In the year 2010, i had opportunity to travel to the US and at a summer period. Lo and behold, within few hours of travels on land i saw vast acres of maize farm lands. As far spread as going from Ibadan to Abuja or from Ife to Jos or from Abeokuta to Okigwe in Imo State all in Nigeria. I saw beautiful farm houses with constant water and light supply. I saw many silos’s, many oil drilling machines at work on various farm lands as if that was not enough, i saw abundance of food due to this judicious attention paid to farm work. Then I asked myself- Had any of our leaders ever come to state before? If yes, did they see many of these things i am seeing? Where are we now and where are we going in terms of feeding our nations and helping us concentrate on more important aspects of development. As an adage says in Yoruba “Bi ebi ba yo ninu ise, ise buse” that means take care of feeding, then poverty is tremendously reduced. Well late last year, i went with my husband to visit a friend at UI, lo and behold vast number of students were spread over a piece of land sweating profusely using hoes and cutlasses to till the land. I saw them and i felt sorry for them and for myself as my 2010 experience earlier shared sprang up in my memory. My question is how long shall we continue like this? Are we stagnant, or moving backward or forward? NIGERIA a land flowing with milk and honey, how are we tapping and preserving the milk and honey of this nation? Will the future generation rise up and call this generation blessed? …