Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi has declared that the state is poised to lead the country in a realistic and much more meaningful agricultural revolution. Governor Ajimobi stated this on Thursday in his speech at the opening ceremony of the First Oyo State Agriculture Investment Summit held at the International Institute Of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan.
The governor was represented by his deputy, Otunba Moses Alake Adeyemo at the Summit themed: “Transforming Oyo State Agriculture And Agro-Allied Industry, Private Sector Participation.”
He said the summit “very apt” as it was coming “at a time that the country is looking for permanent solution to the problems of food insecurity, unemployment and retard in rural development as well as obsolete technology in our great nation.
“The summit became imperative in order to bridge the gap among farmers, processors, agro-allied industries, government, agricultural/commercial banks and other stakeholders with the ultimate aim to trigger the Oyo state’s agro and agro allied sectors.
“The importance of agriculture to nation building cannot be overemphasized, we all know that agriculture is the only key to sector that can provide food, employment for the youth, women and others. It should also stem the tide of rural -urban population drift, it is also a major supplier of agro raw materials for industrial development,” he noted.
Governor Ajimobi told the gathering that his administration is focused on the essence of further agricultural development in the state , hence the major reason for the summit adding that the state land area of 28,454sq,km remains the largest in Southern Nigeria and a veritable investment destination for local and global investors.
He highlighted some of the state. government in the agricultural sector to include; development of 25years Oyo State Agricultural Road Map, development of nine agro industrial parks In its forest reserves, and procurement of 388 tractors and machine implements for mechanized farming.
Others are, procurement and distribution of 10,000 metric tons of assorted fertilizers and agro chemicals at highly subsidized rates annually to farmers,disbursement of over one billion naira loan to farmers to enhance farming activities in the state and free distribution of 7.5million latest hybrids of cocoa, maize and casheew seedlings to farmers among other.
He urged the youths to embrace agriculture just as he charged research institutes in the state to embark on demand-driven projects to ensure their relevance.
The State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Prince Oyewole Oyewunmi in his remarks, was of the view that agriculture has gone beyond being considered for the production and consumption of food, as it has become undoubtedly, a major driver of the economy of any nation.
Other speaker include the Deputy Director of IITA, Konton Dashiel called for motivation of agro- dealers to create opportunities for private investors in the agric sector.
The occasion had in attendance representatives of agro allied industries, financial and research institutions, farmers, agric input dealers and government officials.