Monday, April 4, 2016 8:18 pm
*Unveils massive agriculture programme
Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State today, at the State Agriculture Initiative Stakeholders’ Consultative Forum, held at the House of Chiefs, Parliament Building, Ibadan attributed the pervading economic woes besetting the country to its failure to save for the raining day during the oil boom era.
He added that the recklessness was worsened by neglect of agriculture.
The governor stated that the forum was aimed at involving stakeholders in his administration’s resolve to diversify the economy of the state through the exploration of aggressive, all-inclusive and sustainable agricultural value chain.
Ajimobi said the dwindling allocation from the Federation Account owing to the fall in the price of petroleum in the international market has compelled massive investment in farming.
“We did not save for the raining day when there was oil boom in the country. We relied heavily on income from oil. But we have all been jolted into reality now that a barrel sells for all-time low $30. Nigeria has depended so much on oil which has now lost its value at the international market. So we have to look for alternative sources of revenue which is through aggressive investment in agriculture. The fall in oil price has done more good than harm as it has opened our eyes to the effectiveness of mechanised farming as our saving grace”.
The governor, who said 28 out of the 33 local government areas in the state had been identified as agrarian, added that 100 hectares of land would be set aside in each of the council areas for agriculture. He further explained that the scheme would be all-inclusive, as it would involve students, civil servants, the state-owned College of Agriculture, Igboora as well as other agricultural research institutions based in the state.
According to the governor, Oyo has the largest expanse of arable land in the whole of the South with 28,545 kilometre square, adding that it also has the largest concentration of agricultural research institutions in Nigeria.
Besides, he said that the state was strategically located to be the food basket of Nigeria, expressing the regret however that the potentials had remained largely untapped over the years, thus short-changing the state of the huge revenue that could have accrued from agriculture.
The governor, who said 28 out of the 33 local government areas in the state had been identified as agrarian, added that 100 hectares of land would be set aside in each of the council areas for agriculture.
He further explained that the scheme would be all-inclusive, as it would involve students, civil servants, the state-owned College of Agriculture, Igboora as well as other agric research institutions based in the state.
While soliciting the support of the traditional rulers in the scheme, the governor said that it would be driven by the monarch whom he described as not only the custodians of the people’s culture and tradition but also father of all.
He said that the royal fathers should immediately embark on the mobilization of the subjects on the need for them to see agriculture as the major bail out from the economic crisis currently confronting the country.
The traditional rulers, who spoke at the occasion, lauded the government’s initiative which they described as a veritable means of providing sufficient food for the teeming populace and increasing government’s revenue.
They pledged to mobilise the people in their respective domains to tow the new agriculture initiative of the state government.
The traditional rulers who spoke at the consultative meeting included the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji, the Onpetu of Ijeru, Oba Sunday Oyediran, the Akibio of Ilora, Oba Stephen Oyeniyi and the representative of the Soun of Ogbomoso, Chief Samuel Sobaloju. Also, baales, local government transition committee chairmen and other stakeholders in the 33 local council areas of the state were in attendance.