By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
Governor Abiola Ajimobi on Thursday disclosed that his administration in Oyo state “is very focused on the development of agriculture,” as the importance of agriculture in nation building cannot be overemphasized.
The governor stated this while speaking at the Oyo State Agriculture Investment Summit and Exhibition held at the Conference Centre, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan,
According to the governor, the summit with the theme: “Transforming Oyo State’s Agriculture and Agro-Allied Industry: Private Sector Participation,” became necessary at this particular time when the country is looking for a permanent solution to the problem of food insecurity, unemployment and retard in rural development as well as obsolete technology in our great nation.
“It gladdens my heart that this summit is holding today and I am more delighted to note that though the State parades a lot of research institutions, this is the first attempt to synergize with the leading agro-based research institute in tropical Africa – IITA, from which we expect tremendous and realistic support and outcome.”he said.
Governor Ajimobi added, “It must therefore be noted that once we succeed particularly by ensuring a demand driven solution, we would have consolidated our mission.This summit became imperative in order to bridge the gap among farmers, processors, agro allied industries, Government, agricultural/commercial banks and other stakeholders with the ultimate aim to trigger the Oyo State’s agro and agro allied sectors,” .
Emphasizing that Oyo state government has made modest efforts to buttress its unflinching commitment and determination for further agricultural development including the exploitation of value addition in the agricultural chain in Oyo State, the governor said the state government has developed twenty five (25) years Oyo State Agriculture road map as well as nine agro industrial parks in our forest reserves, saying that the state has a realistic Agricultural Land policy of 250,000Ha which provides for allocation of various hectares to individuals, groups and corporate Bodies for farming.
According to the governor, Oyo State Government through the State Government Agricultural Initiative (OYSAI) has produced 750 metric tons of maize, 865 metric tons of cassava, and that there was collaboration with the Dangote Group for massive Rice production.
Speaking further, Governor Ajimobi hinted that the present administration in the state has distributed 7.5 million latest hybrids of cocoa, maize and cashew seedlings to farmers for free as well as the provision of infrastructure for Extension Officers to strengthen extension service delivery to rural farmers, adding that the state government has engaged in the procurement of 388 tractors and matching implements for mechanized farming; procurement and distribution of over 10,000 metric tons of assorted fertilizers and agro chemicals yearly at highly subsidized rates to farmers, establishment of linkage between Primary producers and processors (integrated value chain process), disbursement of over one billion naira loan to farmers to enhance farming activities in the State and collaboration with FGN and International Development Partners/Agencies for further infrastructural development.
IITA Deputy Director,, Dr. Kenton Dashiell in his remark emphasized the need for motivation of Agro dealers to create opportunities for private investors in the agriculture sector.
Oyo state Commissioner for Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development, Prince Oyewole Oyewumi said that Agriculture is no longer being practiced for private consumption but now a major enterprise that drives the economy of developed countries, adding that
this necessitated the reason why the state government commenced investigation on how agriculture co