By Dipo Olowookere
Governor of Oyo State, Mr Abiola Ajimobi, has disclosed that a partnership was been entered into with Dangote Group for the massive production of rice in the agrarian state.
Mr Ajimobi made this disclosure last Thursday during an Agriculture Investment Summit and Exhibition held at the Conference Centre, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, the state capital.
According to the Governor, his administration 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.
He said that the state government has developed 25-year Oyo State Agriculture road map as well as nine agro industrial parks in the 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.
The Governor said through the Oyo State Government Agricultural Initiative (OYSAI), 750 metric tons of maize and 865 metric tons of cassava have been produced so far with the collaboration with the Dangote Group for massive Rice production.
He noted 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.
The Governor said 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 N1 billion loan to farmers to enhance farming activities in the state and collaboration with FGN and International Development Partners/Agencies for further infrastructural development.
He called on agricultural research institutes and other stakeholders to come up with innovative and proactive ideas that will enhance agriculture development in Nigeria, disclosing that the 28,454 arable land areas in the state remain as a veritable investment destination for local and global investors.
Mr Ajimobi said that the summit with the theme Transforming Oyo State’s Agriculture and Agro-Allied Industry: Private Sector Participation was very apt at a time that the country was 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.
“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,” Mr Ajimobi said.
In his address, Commissioner for Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development in the state, Mr Oyewole Oyewumi, said agriculture was no longer being practiced for private consumption but now a major enterprise that drives the economy of developed countries
He said this necessitated the reason why the state government commenced investigation on how agriculture could be used to benefit the industries.
On his part, Deputy Director of IITA, Dr. Kenton Dashiell, called for motivation of agro dealers to create opportunities for private investors in the agriculture sector.
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