Following the looming food crisis, Sweden-based Nigerian Agriculturist and Cultural Ambassador, Mary Brakner, has urged religious organisations to be involved in agribusiness to tackle food insufficiency, and to empower their congregation.
While briefing the press, Brakner, founder of Matajet International Agric Trade and Yeye Oge Fashion, Sweden, noted that most religious leaders in Nigeria have large followers and congregations over whom they enjoy tremendous influence.
According to her, if such influence is extended to production, the country will record massive agricultural output that will be sufficient for domestic consumption and for exports.
In her words: “I have for long been an advocate for encouraging Nigerians to embrace subsistence and mechanized agriculture to produce agricultural products for consumption sustainability and for exports.
‘’It is a fact our religious leaders have tremendous influence over their followers. So, I appeal to them to prevail upon their congregation to take into farming to feed themselves and export the surplus for foreign exchange earnings.”
There are many, she elaborated, Christian and Islamic denominations with large expanses of arable land that can be cultivated by members to earn a living for themselves and families rather than depend on spiritual leaders for survival.
“Rather than buying private jets for status symbols and building schools that are not affordable by most members, Nigerian religious leaders can divert their enormous resources into agriculture for the economic survival of their congregation,” she said.
She further clarifies that agricultural development requires huge investment which the government alone cannot shoulder, adding what the government can do is to provide the environment through policy formulation for agric to thrive.
Brakner then urged corporate bodies, financial institutions, private individuals, religious organizations and relevant stakeholders in the agric value-chain to invest in the sector and take advantage of its huge economic potential.
“As an ‘agripreneur’ and ‘fashion expert’, leading a group of dedicated and business minded Nigerians in Sweden, our group has successfully organized Agric fairs, fashion shows, cultural programs, seminars and talk shops in Nigeria and Sweden for farmers and upcoming entrepreneurs in various sectors of Nigerian economy to showcase their potentials and attract foreign investment and technical partnership to grow their businesses. This is what we have been doing over the years and through which we have been able to impact the lives and livelihoods of many Nigerian entrepreneurs,” she added.