He said Nigeria must do everything possible to control her population and at the same time scale up production with viable management mechanisms as necessary means of impeding economic predicament.
He added that the comparative advantage of Nigeria compared to many other countries around the world lies in agriculture, backed by governments policy on mechanised farming, and a drastic reduction in importation.
Ife made the remarks while reacting to the recent figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on the State by State Poverty Headcount Rate aired on Channels TV and monitored by our Correspondent.
It was reported that NBS in its recent report declared that 40% of Nigerians were living below $381 per year, which makes 82.9 million of over 200 million Nigerian population poor.
The report also identified Lagos as a state with the lowest poverty rate of 4.50% and Sokoto with the highest poverty rate of 87.73 % among others.
Prof. Ife, however, emphasised the need to make the younger generation participate more in the agricultural sector for better performance, arguing that the sector remains a significant safe haven for Nigeria in the post-COVID-19 era.
He wondered why a state like Zamfara, in the North West could still be battling with poverty and underdevelopment in spite of abundant deposit of mineral resources like Gold in the state.
“We have to develop mechanised farming and get more youths involved in the business of farming to keep our economy vibrant.
“Sincerely, nobody can still predict what the magnitude of the economic impact of this pandemic will be, but Nigeria has an advantage over many countries, including a country like Germany.
“While Germany solely relies on importation to sustain her populace because it practically grows nothing, Nigeria can decide to close its border against any importation to continue consuming everything that is being produced locally and survive.
“All we need to do is to get more youths involved in agriculture and enhance productivity through mechanised farming; unfortunately, those on the farm presently are old people, elders from 60 years above”, Ife explained.
He further harped on how internal insecurity had adversely affected food production, especially in the North East and North Central, where insurgency and Farmer-Herder clashes continue to rage, advising the government to look into this and find means of improving security in the affected areas