Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi has said that the vision of his administration to make the state the food basket of the southwest as well as generate 50 per cent of Internally Generated Revenue from the agriculture sector by 2014 would soon become a reality as some of the agric programmes put in place by the administration are already coming to fruition.
The Governor stated this during a field trip to inspect eight different projects under the Youth Commercial Agriculture Development (YCAD) programme spread across different parts of the state at the weekend.
Dr. Fayemi who toured fish farms in Efon, YCAD Nursery Point at Igede, cassava plantation in Iyemero and the Farmer’s Academy at Isan Ekiti, among others, said the inadequate markets for the sale of YCAD products have proved that the state is gradually nearing the actualization of the vision to make itself the food hub of the southwest Nigeria.
He expressed satisfaction that the YCAD participants are up and doing and are working towards a shift from subsistence agriculture to commercial agriculture.
The Governor stated at the Efon Fish Farm that his previous visit to a privately owned fish farm of about 275 ponds which daily produces 30 tonnes of fish and the output from the youths empowered by the State Government under the YCAD programme has proved that the state is achieving its Agenda 3 which is modernising agriculture.
Fayemi who had consistently expressed optimism that the state could generate at least N1 billion from daily supplying food products to half of the population in Lagos State, assured that government would work towards creating new markets for the young emerging farmers so that they won’t be discouraged and frustrated by the inadequate market which can lead to a huge business loss.
He added that the government had limited crops cultivated under the YCAD programme to cocoa, cassava and oil palm in order to help participants access the markets and sustain a base for the products.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr Jide Arowosafe, also disclosed that the state government has grown no less than 1,150 hectares of cassava in Iyemero and other parts of the state in the first phase of its cassava revolution, while another 2000 hectares are being prepared for the next planting season.
Arowosafe who made this known during the tour said the state government also has 18 nursery points where no fewer than 20,000 cocoa nurseries are raised for sale to farmers; adding that the hybrid nurseries which are expected to start producing fruits after two years are to be sold at the rate of N15 in compliance with the directive of Governor Fayemi to subside the nurseries from N60 to N15.
Arowosafe added that 10,000 oil palm and thick nurseries are also being raised and made available for sale to farmers.
He stressed that the Fayemi-led administration would leave no stone unturned in actualizing its vision for the agriculture sector by 2014.
On the Governor’s entourage in the field trip were: the Chief of Staff, Mr Yemi Adaramodu; the Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, Mr Tayo Ekundayo; his counterpart in the Integration and Intergovernmental Affairs Ministry, Mr Funminiyi Afuye; state Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism, Chief Ronke Okusanya; Commissioner for Local Government, Mr Paul Omotosho; the Special Adviser to the Governor on Political Matters, Alhaji Ayodele Jinadu; and his counterpart for Government House and Protocol, Mrs Kehinde Daramola.