By Seyi Oduneye-Ogunwomoju
Ibadan, Oct. 7, 2020 An educationist, Mrs Abosede Oriowo, has advised parents to encourage their children to develop interest in agriculture, in addition to other professions they may desire to pursue in life.
Oriowo, the Principal of Methodist High School (MHS), Lagos/Ibadan expressway, Ibadan, gave the advice while speaking with journalists in Ibadan on Wednesday.
According to her, the need for students to begin to develop interest in agriculture is becoming more urgent by the day, as the country is tending towards an agriculturally-sustained economy.
“I know that most parents want their children to be lawyers, doctors and engineers; they do not want their children to be addressed next to anything close to agriculture.
“However, I will advise parents to allow their children to go into farming, because the way things are going in the country now, we are going back to agriculture.
“Whether we like it or not, agriculture is the backbone of the nation.
“We have good lands, good environment and good weather that can support the growth of agriculture, both in crop and animal husbandry.
“So, whatever profession the children are embarking upon in the future, they should do so along with agriculture,” she said.
On the ongoing ‘Start Them Early Programme (STEP)/Oyo Project’ in the school, Oriowo appreciated the Oyo state government and the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) for selecting her school as a model centre.
NAN reports that STEP, a state government-backed initiative of IITA, is aimed at encouraging secondary school students to develop early interest in agriculture and to view it as a profitable venture.
The programme, which was inaugurated on July 23, has been training students in agribusiness, crop production, ICT, value addition, mechanisation and poultry enterprise.
Applauding the programme, the principal said it would surely change the attitude of students, who had, hitherto, considered agriculture as a means of punishment and dirty man’s job.
“I was so happy when they came announcing this to us and I embraced it with the whole of my heart, because I love agriculture so much.
“Even before this programme, the school had been operating a fish pond. I usually bring the students together during the week to learn how to change the water, feed and put the fishes inside water.
“This I do to make them learn that whatever profession they may venture into in life, they can still indulge in agriculture as another source of income.
“By the grace of God, we have three students who are into fishing in their homes now,” she said.
Also speaking with NAN, Bolanle Larinde, the STEP Assistant Project Coordinator, said that the school’s laboratories would be upgraded as part of the benefits of the scheme.
“In Methodist High School, we are upgrading facilities, such as the Chemistry laboratory, to make it more standard. We are also creating a processing centre for value addition and fish pond for aqua culture.
“Apart from the reconstruction and rehabilitation of facilities, we are also going to be training students in different enterprises, with, at least, five students in each enterprise.
“These enterprises include mechanisation, crop production, value addition, poultry, livestock and ICT in agribusiness,” she said.