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Makinde, Adesina, Elumelu, others harp on investment in agriculture

By Seye Olumide, South-West Bureau Chief, Ibadan
27 October 2021   |   4:06 am
Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde, President, African Development Bank (ADB), Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina; Chairman, Heirs Holdings, Tony Elumelu; Director-General, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Dr. Nteranya Sanginga and others have emphasised...

Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde, President, African Development Bank (ADB), Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina; Chairman, Heirs Holdings, Tony Elumelu; Director-General, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Dr. Nteranya Sanginga and others have emphasised the need for Nigeria to invest more in agriculture to fight unemployment, youths’ restiveness and food insecurity.

The personalities, which also included Chief Executive Officers (CEO) of Fidelity Bank, Mrs. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe; Wema Bank, Mr. Ademola Adebisi; Managing Director of First Bank, Dr. Adesola Kazeem Adeduntan; High Commissioners of The Netherlands, France and Australia to Nigeria and Ambassadors of France and The Netherlands to Nigeria, said the importance of agriculture to the development and growth of any nation could not be overlooked, especially in Nigeria.

Speakers at the Oyo Agribusiness Summit 2021 with the theme: ‘Grow Oyo/Invest in Agriculture,’ organised by the Director-General, Oyo State Agribusiness Development Agency (OYSADA), Dr. Debo Akande, at the IITA, Ibadan, yesterday, harped on the significance of agriculture, commending the Oyo State government’s policies in the sector.

In his remarks, Makinde said to make Oyo a leader in research-stimulated agribusiness entrepreneurship for economic development, the state had developed an agribusiness strategy and roadmap to compete as a global producer of high-quality and safe agricultural products.

He said a wide array of commercially-viable agribusiness were available for investors across diverse value-chains, which include production, processing, inputs, mechanisation, and related equipment, irrigation system, aggregation, warehousing, incubation centres, agribusiness advisory services, agro-logistics and marketing in the state.

He said the state has over 2.2 million hectares of land of which 85 per cent is arable and suitable for large-scale farming to meet the needs of a growing population and burgeoning middle class with enough water resources and others.

Also in his address, Adesina, who was represented at the event, urged Oyo to engage in competitive agriculture, cluster all the stakeholders into one, make the state agricultural sector attractive to other nations, build capacity in the sector and ensure adaptation to climate change.

He said that if the state could adhere to those points, it would go a long way.

MEANWHILE, Akande, who lamented that Nigeria had spent over $11 billion to import food it could produce and thereby creating jobs and wealth for other nations, commended what Makinde did at Fashola Farm, especially the road construction to connect the farm where youths are now being empowered.