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Osun assures farmers of great deal of support to enhance agric value chain   

By Olawale Adewale, The Nigerian Voice, Osogbo 
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Osun State Government has assured the farmers in the state of great deal of support in terms of motivation and encouragement to enhance agriculture value chain and ensure food security in the state.

The State Governor, Alhaji Isiaka Gboyega Oyetola gave the assurance during the second edition of an event dedicate to celebrate the farmers in the state tagged “Osun Alagbinla”.

The event was organised by the Office of Economic Development and Partnerships (OEDP) and the State Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MSFS) in collaboration with All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN).

Oyetola said the state government has been supporting farmers through various innovative interventions with a view to making Osun the main hub of agriculture in South West Nigeria.

Farmers from different parts of the state and stakeholders in the agribusiness converged at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Research and Training Farm, Ago-Owu for the event.

While sensitising the farmers on ways to run their farms to avoid losses and make huge profits, an agricultural expert, Professor Peter Akpopodion highlighted the best practices in agribusiness and charged the farmers to embrace them.

Professor Akpopodion said "for you to be a successful farmer, you need go for quality and favourite seed, good soil, ensure your farm is very clean and neat, make sure your farm is of good size and then you need modern farming skills."

The Manager of the Bank of Industry, Mr Isacc Faniyi Ojo while speaking on providing financial support for the farmers commended those that have refunded the loans that they took initially so as to enable another set of farmers to get loan.

The AFAN Chairman in the state, Alhaji Sulaimon Araokanmi said the farmers in the state are convinced that the current administration in the state values agriculture and ready to assist the farmers.

Also, the Head, Administration & Commercial Services Department, Osun Agric Land Bank, Mr Wole Ajewole explained the operations of the establishment and urged the father to key into it son as to enable the state government achieve its plans for them.

He noted that the Osun Agric Land Bank searching land in all nooks and crannies for the new farm settlements and that it is empowered to identify and present illegal occupants in the existing farm settlements for prosecution.

He warned those that that defy the government directive and continued farm in the farm settlements without necessary documents would be prosecuted.

His words "Going forward, all genuine allottees and settlers are enjoined to pay their annual land rent at Omoluabi Bank and submit a copy of the e-receipt to the Land Bank for authentication of payment and up-date of record.

Ajewole sought for the supports and understanding of farmers and stakeholders in the agric sector in the state for the successful implementation of lofty programmes of Governor Oyetola's administration for the benefit of the farmers in the state.

The Director General of OEDP, Dr. Charles ‘Diji Akinola who was represented at the event by the Coordinating Director in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Dr Olubukola Aluko told the farmers that the administration of Governor Oyetola has good plans for them.

He said the state government wants to establish nine new farm settlements with one in each of the federal constituencies in the state and to also establish agro-industrial parks and produce markets.

“The state government will consolidate on the agricultural land expansion programme with additional target of 20,000 hectares for farm settlements to encourage and boost agriculture in the state.”

“The new farm settlement would focus on integrated agricultural development on crops (Maize, Cassava, Rice, Tomatoes, Vegetables, Yam, Plantain, Cocoa, and Oil Palm,), livestock, fisheries and Comprehensive Farm Service Centres where farmers will have access to Farm inputs, Extension services, Information and market intelligence services, produce storage and other support services.”

He said that the farm settlements in the urban centres would incorporate Green House and Vertical farming for growing vegetable, chillies, pepper and others.

Governor Oyetola who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Mr Benedict Gboyega Alabi said he was impressed with the enthusiasm with which the farmers in the state embraced the strategic partnership between the state government and the IITA.

Oyetola said the state government released 205.5 hectares of land in Ago Owu to IITA for the purpose of conducting researches and setting up demonstration farms for best farming practices

He noted that records have shown that this innovative partnership has enhanced the method of farming being used by our hardworking farmers and consequently improve their yield and its attendant inflow of income.

The governor said Osun is an agrarian economy with farmers constituting over 70% of the population and that he was interested in ensuring that the farmers continue to have access to agricultural inputs that will enhance their productivities.

His words “To do this, our administration is determined to build on the achievement of the past administration of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola through the implementation of programmes that would promote a better livelihood of our hardworking farmers and ensure food security in the state.

He said one of the laudable programmes was the implementation of Osun Rural Enterprise and Agricultural Programme (OREAP) through which some innovative initiatives have been implemented.

Oyetola said farmers in the state have had access to agricultural loan, roads, fertilizer, agriculture support services among others through the government farmer-friendly initiatives

He said the government initiatives to help the farmers have resulted in sustained growth of the state economy with attendant creation of jobs and wealth as well as enhanced food security.

Oyetola said some of the initiatives include the implementation of the private sector-led Farm Input Supply programme, the establishment of the Osun Agricultural Land Holding Authority (the Land Bank), the revitalization of all the existing farm settlements in the state, massive construction of Farm-to-Market Roads in different parts of the state under the Rural Access Mobility Projects (RAMP), Osun Broilers Out-growers Production Scheme (O’BOPS), among others.

Some of the dignitaries at the event include the Chairman of Osun State House of Assembly’s Committee on Agriculture, Honourable Gbadebo Ibrahim, the former Commissioner for Home Affairs, Dr Obawale Adebisi, the General Manager, Osun Agric Development Programme, Mrs Gbemi Fayoyin and the General Manager of the Osun State Agric Development Corporation, Mr John Kayode Olanipekun.