The Ogun State model of agriculture
Sir: It is not surprising that Ogun is among the six states that the AfDB team on Environmental and Social Assessment Appraisal Mission, in collaboration with the IFAD have chosen to implement the proposed Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone (SAPZ).
A fortnight ago, during a visit to the governor by the duo of Dr Chuma Ezedinma (head of the AfDB/IFAD team) and Dr Patrick Habamenshi (IFAD country director), it was established that Ogun State has an ample opportunity for achieving greatness through agriculture.
“Our vision is to make Agriculture a model. We are here (in Ogun) to develop this programme together, between AfDB and IFAD.
By and large, the present administration has placed premium on agriculture. The agricultural agenda have been bold, encouraging and exemplary since the administration assumed the mantle of leadership on May 29, 2019. Of note, the encouragement of the scheme has attracted no fewer than 80,000 people (mostly youths) who have keyed into the Agricultural value chain opportunities, with the linkage of well over 15,000 to credit, input and guaranteed market and productivity in the FGN/CBN Ogun Anchor Borrowers’ Programme and other programmes, despite a restrictive COVID-19 pandemic year and a host of others.
In demonstration of the administration, the intervention of the global agricultural authorities and experts, as part of the bid for the Special Agro-Industrial Zone (SAPZ) project is driven by an indication of the continuous efforts to seek partnership and collaboration in the resolve and commitment to support all levels of Agricultural activities, including small-holder farming, achieve food security, create job opportunities and link primary producers and youths to your industrial process, and promote agricultural industrialisation.
No doubt, Ogun is naturally an SAPZ location and suitable for its innovation and case study, considering the current infrastructure, concentration of agro-investors, close proximity to raw materials and ready-made markets.
There is a level of coordination, aggregation and agro-transformation that is currently ongoing in the state, as the largest hub for both conventional industries and agro-industries which are located near Lagos, one of the largest markets in Africa. Also, the improved coordination of aggregation, processing and access to large markets will accompany the much desired SAPZ and will transform lives, commerce well-being of the people in the state, Nigeria, Africa and the world, at large.
However, the state Governor, Dapo Abiodun, strongly believes that the competitive bidding process would be beneficial to all and sundry.
According to him: “Ogun State has taken the AfDB-SAPZ initiative to a higher level with deliberate earmarking of 20,000 hectares, including advance level brown field activities and commencement of the cargo airport which will complement export opportunities and nationwide supplies. The first phase of the cargo airport would be delivered in 2022.’’
Essentially, agriculture remains the cornerstone to the economy of the state, and if well harnessed, it will put the economy development at a very fast space.
• Femi Ezekiel wrote from Abeokuta, Ogun State capital.
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