By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
A new Farmers body,”Agbetuntun platform was on Thursday launched at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Ibadan to transform agriculture across the South West states in Nigeria.
Addressing a press conference at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Ibadan, the President of Odua Chamber of Commerce, Chief Kola Kosile declared that the new farmers platform is aimed at bringing about a transitional approach into farming using digital approach to transform agriculture .
Chief Kosile stressed that the platform is targeting to raise no fewer than 1million farmers across the South west state within the next five years while it will commence its activities with 20,000 farmers as its pilot scheme this year.
“We want to use technology, innovations to change the narrative story of agric business in south west. We are staring with 20,000 farmers. This is being championed by ODUACCIMA, it is the regional chamber of commerce in the south west. It is private sector driving. The existing farmers will also be part of it. The selection is based on state chamber of commerce and industry. Like I said it is going to be technology driven. We are starting with maize.’ he said
The Odua Chamber of Commerce President maintained that the Agbetiuntun Platform is to focus its attention on the need to raise and encourage the youths to engage in farming while the existing farmers too are to be equally engaged .
“Right now we are putting the the structure on the ground, we have UI, OAU, Cocoa House, all of them were build with Cocoa money during the analogue days. We are covering traditional south west states and Kwara and Edo in the next five years we are looking at 1 million farmers. We want to ensure agricultural competition, digital youth, as are bringing farmers, cattle breeders, women and other stakeholders.”
According to Chief Akosile, in doing this, the Agbetuntun platform will create structure and system to entice youths into farming by making use of modern technology to entice the youths into sustainable and commercial agriculture.
On the mode of selecting the 20,000 youths for the pilot scheme, the Oduaccima President disclosed that the selection is to be handled by states Chamber of Commerce across the South west states as well as in the Yoruba speaking areas of Edo state.
He maintained that the Agbetuntun platform farming scheme is to start with the planting of maize by each of the farmers with the up keeping money of N300,000 to be made available for each of the farmers, adding that this will in turn guarantee availability of raw materials for those engaging in agricultural production.
Chief Akosile however said the Agbetuntun platform “is not an NGO” but a body powered by the Odua Chamber of Commerce and that the initiative was out in place in order to build legacies for the teeming and incoming generations.
In his remark, President, South West farmers, Chief Desaolu disclosed that the initiative was out in place in order to build legacies for the teeming and incoming generations.
“We don’t want our youths to be riding Okadas, HND, BSc holders riding Okadas, that is not the legacy of Chief Obafemi Awolowo. He created farm settlements. Our youths are suffering and we have potentials to engage them.