The Government of the State of Osun on Tuesday, 3 August, 2021 distributed 100,000 cocoa seedlings to about 1,000 farmers in the State.
The State Government also distributed agro-chemicals, hand-spraying tools, limes and other farm inputs to about 1,000 farmers across the Local Government Areas of the State.
The Government also inaugurated Osun Broilers Outgrowers Production Scheme III (OBOPS) to enhance the capacity of the livestock production and turn around the fortune of the scheme to be more profitable and attractive to farmers in the State.
Farmers in each of the Local Government Areas across the State got 1,500 cocoa seedlings as priority was given to the Cocoa Producing Local Government Areas of the State.
This is even as the beneficiaries lauded the Administration for continuously prioritising agriculture to retain its position as the mainstay of the State’s economy.
Speaking on the occasion, Governor Adegboyega Oyetola said Government’s efforts were geared towards actualising its set objectives to reposition agriculture and make Osun the food basket of the nation in general and Southwest in particular.
He added that the initiative was designed to support farmers and cushion the effects of the erratic weather that occurred last year, which resulted in prolonged drought and flooding in different parts of the State.
Distributing the hundreds of thousands of the farm inputs freely to farmers at the Agriculture Demonstration Centre, Aisu, in Ede South Local Government Area of the State, Governor Oyetola noted that the initiative was aimed at actualising the agricultural revolution agenda of the government.
According to him, the distribution of cocoa seedlings and other agricultural inputs is part of the Administration’s determined quest at revamping the State’s economy through the Cocoa Revitalisation Programme.
Oyetola who reiterated government’s commitment to turning Osun into the food hub of the Southwest, said policies had been tailored towards ensuring adequate availability of fertile land, good roads, relatively good rainfall pattern and above all to ensure peaceful coexistence between the herdsmen and the farmers.
The Governor further emphasised that the initiative would help to boost the agricultural sector, thus supporting the systematic replacement of the existing old cocoa plantations and other permanent crops with improved high-yielding varieties which require quick government interventions to ensure that Osun becomes the largest cocoa producer in Southwest Nigeria.
“It is pertinent to remind this gathering that agriculture still remains the mainstay of the State economy and the sector has vast potential for generating revenue, employment, provision of agro-allied raw materials, and supply of food to the teeming populace of the State.
“I would like to remind this gathering of my inaugural speech where I promised that our Administration would consolidate on the Agricultural Land Expansion Programme for the establishment of additional farm settlements.
“It is my pleasure to inform you that we have approved the establishment of 10,000 hectares of farmland to be used as a farm settlement at F3 in Ife-South Local Government in which 400 hectares of the farmland have been cleared to empower one thousand (1,000) youths in the cultivation of arable crops. Also, 23 hectares of farmland have been cleared at Ifon, in Orolu Local Government as a Demonstration Site for youths and women empowerment and agro processing centres.
“To fulfill our electioneering promises in the Agriculture sector, Government has embarked on a number of projects aimed at enhancing the economic base of the State and that of the farmers, especially the Tree Crop Unit of the Ministry which is distributing Cocoa seedlings freely.
“Also, the State Government established a Demonstration Site at AISU, Ede, where Greenhouse, with irrigation facilities, has been installed for all-year-round tomatoes production, construction of fish ponds, and milk collection centre to demonstrate good agricultural practices.
“Our administration has the intention to establish one demonstration centre each in the other two Senatorial Districts.
“Furthermore, the Extension Services delivery arm of the Osun State Agricultural Development Programme (OSSADEP) has been fortified to avail our farmers of new and improved up-to-date farming practices, while the Osun State Agricultural Development Corporation (OSSADEC) and Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security have been repositioned with the procurement of new tractors and its implements.
“It is therefore an added pleasure to relaunch Osun Broilers Outgrowers Production Scheme (OBOPS), which has been re engineered and re-inaugurated to empower poultry farmers, mostly youths and women in the State, with day-old broiler chicks, feeds, drugs, vaccine, and other logistics to rear them up to six weeks when they would have attained market weight. A sum of two hundred Million Naira (#200,000,000.00) has been released for this programme and off-takers of the products are readily available.
“I urge the beneficiaries of this free distribution initiative to take advantage of it to key into the vision of our Administration to become the face of agricultural transformation in the Southwest.
“I promise that this Administration will continue to give maximum support to our farmers, as agriculture remains a component in our quest for transforming our State’s economy,” Oyetola added.
In his remarks, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, Hon. Dayo Adewole, assured that the State Government would be supplying farmers buds, day-old chicks and feeds so as to aid them in launching the scheme in their respective domains.
He disclosed that the Governor had equally put in place workable mechanisms to embark on a tour of milk collection centres across the State.
Adewole further reiterated that farmers would benefit directly from the Scheme, just as he pointed out that the third phase of the Scheme had been designed to make agribusiness more profitable, attractive, interesting and rewarding.
Speaking on the modalities behind the numerous agricultural inputs distributed to the farmers, Adewole noted that the intervention was aimed at eliminating hunger, alleviating poverty and taming the tide of youth restiveness.
Adewole stated further that the Governor would also be visiting warehouses being affected by flood as part of efforts to explore available means to support the affected farmers, an initiative he said would be achieved in collaboration with the Federal Government Agencies and private partners.
He urged farmers in the State to support the Government in its efforts to revitalise the agriculture sector, particularly livestock production in the State.
In his remarks, the Chairman of All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Osun State Chapter, Alhaji Sulaiman Araokanmi, commended the prompt intervention of government to revamp agriculture in the State.
While commending the State Government on the kind gesture extended to them, some of the beneficiaries who expressed delight, lauded the kind gesture extended to them by the Oyetola-led Administration.
Some of the direct beneficiaries of the cocoa intervention programmes, Mr. Omoloye Akanmu, Mr. Rabiu Omowole; Alhaji Adesanya Aderemi; Mrs. Christiana Ogunsaya; Alhaja Asifat Bukola and Mr. Adedayo Kayode, said the initiative would go a long way to rekindle their hope in agribusiness in the State.
“I feel very elated that this programme comes into being because for the past few years now, we have been struggling up and down to achieve this.
“To me, today is the beginning of landmark in the history of agriculture particularly cocoa farming in the State,” Alhaji Adesanya Aderemi added.
The event was attended by the Wife of the Governor, Mrs. Kafayat Oyetola; Deputy Governor, Mr. Benedict Alabi; Chief of Staff to the Governor, Dr. Charles Akinola, and farmers representatives, among others.