In his bid to diversify economy, revitalize agricultural sector and generate more revenue for the state, the Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has disclosed his administration’s readiness and total commitment to expose and engage thousands of youths into farming in order for them to contribute meaningful to the society and the state at large.
Governor Aregbesola made the disclosure while signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the State Government of Osun and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).
Governor Aregbesola who bemoaned over the state of the nation’s economy said his government has ever ready to diversify its economy as he has aggressively invested hugely on agriculture since his assumption in office.
He said his administration has made available 204.39 hectares of land his government said his around Ago Owu in the state for the purpose of conducting research and setting up demonstration farms for best farming practices.
Governor Aregbesola stressed that agricultural development especially food production has been the main thrust of his administration’s policies since his assumption in November, 2010.
Governor Aregbesola reiterated that inasmuch as Osun is a peasant-agrarian state, therefore partnering with an institution like IITA will not in any doubt complement his agricultural programmes and give it a new fillip.
Governor Aregbesola who tagged his speech “a timely partnership” said
IITA has been very supportive of the state’s flagship agriculture programme most significantly on Osun Rural Enterprise and Agriculture Programme (O’REAP) in many ways.
He described his administration’s commitment to agriculture as unsurpassable among his peers, saying his zeal has been complemented by the IITA over the years as the relationship between the duo looks like heavenly made.
He commended the institute’s Director General, Dr. Nteranya Sanginga, who according to him has reenergised IITA and has taken it from the insularity of a research enclave into the planting fields of the vast farms.
Governor Aregbesola who lamented over what he described as unwarranted scourge of hunger and poverty in Nigeria, said the time has come for every government to invest tremendously in real agricultural production.
He said Nigerian government doesn’t need a soothsayer to tell it to shift its focus to agriculture if it must survive the looming financial storm.
He attributed challenges facing farmers to lack of critical linkage between agricultural research and implementation, adding signing of MoU and partnership with IITA, the state is stand to have direct-to-farm linkage of scientific innovations in farming by the very best of agriculture scientists.
He reaffirmed that the new revolution in agriculture will help to make thousand of millionaires out of the farmers and as well bring capital to the state by extending robustly agriculture value chain.
He further stated that the innovation in agriculture would also create jobs for the youths that are being attracted to farming as the state had prioritized agriculture.
Governor Aregbesola expressed confidence in IITA management, stressing that MoU signed with the organization would lead to agriculture revolution, not just in Osun, but in Nigeria as a whole.
According to him, ” This MoU will no doubt complement our agriculture programme and give it a new fillip.
“This our partnership simply means that we are going to have direct-to-farm linkage of scientific innovations in farming by the very best of agriculture scientists.
“It will also bring capital to our state, extend robustly the agriculture value chain, create jobs and hopefully make millionaires out of our farmers, especially the youths that are being attracted to farming.
“IITA will carry out cassava, plantain and other crops multiplication. It will also train Osun youths on modern, commercial and profitable farming.
“Agricultural development, especially for food production, has been the main thrust of our administration’s policies since our coming in November, 2010.
“Our relationship with IITA, therefore, looks like it was made in heaven. Given our both commitment to agriculture, it is inevitable that our paths would cross.
“To be sure, this is not our first collaboration. At the beginning of this year in January, we signed an MoU that eventually produced today’s ground breaking event.
“IITA has been very supportive of our flagship agriculture programme, Osun Rural Enterprise and Agriculture Programme (O’REAP) in many ways.
“I must commend the institute’s Director General, Dr. Nteranya Sanginga, whose coming has reenergised IITA and has taken it from the insularity of a research enclave into the planting fields of the vast farms.
“I hate to compare, but given the innovations he has carried out at IITA and how he has taken it a notch higher the development ladder, I must say that Dr. Sanginga understands the critical role of agriculture research institutes in our continent’s grim battle against the scourge of hunger and poverty, more than any of his predecessors.
“Under him, we are seeing IITA breaking out, providing the lacking critical linkage between research and implementation.
“The parcel of land being released to IITA is very strategic. It is embedded within a farm settlement of 4,000 hectares of the 11,496 hectares of land we are developing in the Ago Owu area.
“We have also opened up another farm settlement in Mokore on 3,340 hectares of land. This IITA centre is surrounded by some 28 farming villages whom we expect would be the first beneficiaries of the farming innovation that would come from the centre.
“There is no doubt that this would spread to the entire farming community in Osun and then to our neighbouring states.
“Big things start small. I am convinced that what we are starting today would lead to agriculture revolution, not just in Osun, but in Nigeria as a whole.
“With our Bonny Light selling for $38.18 yesterday, we don’t need a soothsayer to tell us that our focus must shift to agriculture if we must survive the looming financial storm.
“We believe that it is for this reason that God has positioned Dr. Sanginga in our country at this time, as a light first to Nigeria and the continent of Africa as a whole.
“We are confident therefore that IITA would surpass our expectations and showcase this project as a worthy and unsurpassable model.
However, IITA, a member of the Consultative Group for International Agriculture Research (CGIAR), is a foremost research institution established in 1967 for the development of agriculture in this region. The State of Osun, created in 1991, is a predominantly agrarian state.
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