The Governor of the State of Osun, Adegboyega Oyetola, said on Tuesday (18th May, 2021) that his Administration remained a critical player in efforts to revamp the agriculture sector of the country alongside the Federal Government. The Governor made this comment at the unveiling of the Ekiti State Government Rice Pyramid Project, which witnessed the signing of an MoU between the State and the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria and the flag-off of 2021 wet season rice cultivation.
He also took the opportunity of the project unveiling to disclose imminent plans to introduce an initiative for cocoa farmers in Osun state. The cocoa initiative is set to empower 2000 young farmers in the state through a partnership with AFEX, the Central Bank of Nigeria and the state government.
Oyetola commented, “In two days, we will be unveiling a new Cocoa initiative, aimed at empowering 2, 000 youths. We are doing this in collaboration with AFEX and the Central Bank of Nigeria. The aim of the programme is to bring rapid development to the Cocoa value chain and promote agro produce in the Cocoa producing States.”
Describing agriculture as an important sector and one of the bedrocks of socioeconomic development, he added that the government has also been working hard to support Maize farmers, Cotton farmers and Cocoa farmers in the state to make the best of resources and improve their outcomes.
“By the nation’s potential and history, agriculture remains a critical but missing mainstay that we must all as a nation and the constituent States join hands together to find and sustain. The novel success we have recorded in rice production as a nation in the past five years is evidence that we have the capacity as a nation to feed ourselves and turn our economy around. It is also proof that President Buhari’s administration means well for the people and the nation.”
This is especially important to note for the cocoa value chain, which has a history of sustaining various sectors of our economy through the bounty that it formerly brought in. More collaboration and initiatives like the one soon to be launched in Osun State through the trio of AFEX, the CBN and the state government are necessary to bring cocoa back to its formerly high levels of contributions to the country’s economy.
Oyetola congratulated Governor Kayode Fayemi on the unveiling of the Ekiti State Government Rice Pyramid Project, saying “If agriculture worked for us as the mainstay of the nation’s economy in the First Republic, it will work for us better now in the knowledge- and technology-driven 21st Century. We must all at the Federal, State and Local levels muster the political will to give agriculture its pride of place as a staunch source of food sufficiency and security as well as an employment generation and revenue earner.
“I commend the Ekiti State Government, RIFAN and all our rice farmers for rising to the challenges of 2020, including the COVID-19 pandemic, and for putting all the requisite measures in place for a bountiful yield during the 2020 Wet Season.”
“I urge all stakeholders to continue to engage meaningfully in research and training and re-training of personnel to build capacity for optimum results. We will also do well to provide all the necessary implements and support for our farmers to perform to their optimum.”
In his remarks, the host Governor and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, said the initiative was in line with the vision of the Administration to ensure massive food production which was also in tandem with President Muhammadu Buhari’s agricultural transformational agenda. He said his Administration has successfully demonstrated the need for the people to look inward towards improving and revamping the agriculture sector.
In their separate goodwill messages, the Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu; Kebbi State Governor, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu; Jigawa State Governor, Badaru Abubakar; and Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, lauded Governor Fayemi on the initiative, describing the move as timely, apt and prompt, particularly at a time the nation needs workable diversification with emphasis on agriculture to improve on its national economic plan.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Ekiti State Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, Mr. Olabode Adetoyi, said the initiative was conceptualized to tell the whole world that Nigeria could feed itself.
He noted that the initiative was also aimed at sending a strong encouragement signal to the people, particularly the young farmers that the time has come for all to return to the farm as the scheme is embedded with a high-value chain capable of providing employment opportunities for the young ones.
The official flag off of the 2021 cocoa farming season begins today (19th May, 2021). Join us at Ife CPMU, Osun State, or follow activities through our Instagram stories as we train cocoa farmers, interact with stakeholders, and promote collaboration in the cocoa ecosystem for better production.