Oyo: Still at drawing board
In a desperate effort to look away from inadequate allocation from Abuja, the Oyo State government recently launched an agricultural initiative tagged ‘Agric Oyo’.
The initiative, targets the positioning of the state as a major the food basket of the Southwest, with the ultimate aim of servicing the food needs of the West African sub region.
The farm produce selected were based on comparative advantage in the first stage, which ran from 2016 to 2017 are: Maize, cassava, vegetables (leafy and fruit), rice, soybean, poultry, fisheries and cocoa seedling production. The second phase, which will run from 2017 to 2019 includes: Cocoa, cashew, citrus, oil palm, plantain/banana, forest trees, apiary and cattle/dairy.
Tolu Sadipe, Special Adviser to Governor Abiola Ajimobi on project and chairperson, Oyo State agricultural initiative, said; “The programme provides a level playing ground for all categories of individuals and organisations across state and national boundaries to participate in developing agriculture in the state.
With an expanse of land spanning 28,454 square kilometres, Sadipe said the state has the largest arable land in the southern part of the country and human resources, which gives it comparative advantage.
“In April, the Oyo State government made known its plan to invest massively in agriculture, in a bid to improve its internally generated revenue and create job opportunities. Two successive stakeholders’ consultative meetings were held in Ibadan to deliberate on possible ways to introduce sustainable agricultural revolution.
“About one million people are expected to benefit from this initiative and the necessary facilities have been provided for the sustainability of the initiative. This initiative would go a long way to drive the economic growth of the state.”
Sadipe also disclosed that the production techniques involves capacity building, lead farmers approach, where successful farm owners in the state such as psaltery, NIJI groups and others would be engaging the participants and serve as role models, for supplies of improved seeds and seedlings from reputable research institutes such as IITA, IAR&T, NIHORT, NAGRAB and NCRI, mechanised and semi-mechanised agriculture, coupled with good agronomic practices and provision of irrigation facilities to forestall adverse effects of climate change.
So much for policy statement. How soon Oyo will begin to earn from agro policies and investments is one big question no one is willing to provide answers to.