The government of Osun says the positive feedbacks and impacts of its Food Support Scheme on people of the State, had encouraged it to sustain the initiative.
It further disclosed that over 500,000 households had directly and indirectly benefitted from the initiative that was introduced in 2021 as a deliberate effort to revolutionalise agriculture, encourage young and old farmers and bring succour to the less privileged and vulnerable members of the society.
Speaking during the flag off of the 17th edition of the Food Support Scheme, at Local Government Service Commission, State Government Secretariat, Abere, Osogbo, Governor Adegboyega Oyetola said it is on record that the initiative has had positive impacts in the lives of the people as it had brought succour and made living less burdensome to the beneficiaries who are largely vulnerable segment of the population.
Governor Oyetola who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Prince Wole Oyebamiji, noted that the introduction of the scheme codenamed “Ounje Ileri” had complemented his efforts at revolutionalising the agricultural sector and boosting the State’s economy.
According to him, the positive impacts of the scheme on the lives of the people were a clear testimony to the fact that the government has been meeting up the target and actualising the set goals at making life bearable and worthwhile for the citizens.
“Our government’s agricultural programme has encouraged a good percentage of our youths to go back to the farm, and if these young men and women are back to the farm planting cassava and other agricultural produce, therefore, our avowed commitment to stimulate the economy and revamp the agricultural sector are yielding positive results.
“Though, as a government, we have the responsibility to ensure that the end product is not only seen by the people but purchased from them so that they will have no regret that is why we are giving prompt and adequate support to our farmers and those showing interest in farming to drive our target of diversifying the economy and making the agriculture the economic mainstay.
“These concerted efforts apart from the fact that it will assist and boost the economy of the State, it will bring succour to the people who are hitterto faced with economic reality.
“Our choice of giving prominence to local productions and staple foods such as gari among other products was to encourage the young entrepreneurs and scale up the activities of our local production.
“So, we are confident that if we continue to distribute Gari for the next six months, it won’t affect the production and we will still have enough for the people to consume. I want to commend and appreciate these young farmers that have taken the bull by the horns to go back to the farm as this will go a long way to reduce the over dependence on government jobs.
“We have a responsibility as a government to continue to encourage the youths to farm and we have means of supporting them to succeed in whatever areas of their choice.
“We have our feedback and monitoring mechanism intact at ensuring that the gesture gets to the targeted beneficiaries. We have been receiving the feedbacks all along and these have been very encouraging as the beneficiaries are feeling the positive impact of the gesture coming from the government”, Oyetola added.
Fielding questions from journalists shortly after the official flag-off, the Commissioner for Regional Integration and Special Duties, Engr. Olalekan Badmus said the scheme had really helped in building a number of entrepreneurs and raising youths to actualise their socio-economic dreams.
“We have been able to build a lot of entrepreneurs since the commencement of this scheme. This has an economic- value-chain that has impacted greatly in the lives of the people. We have been doing everything to encourage our young ones to go back to the farm as the local productions is on the topnotch.
“We are distributing gari for this month edition and if you look at it, from those that are taking it directly from the farm to those engaging in processing so also to the final stage, it is obvious that the scheme really has an economic-value- chain. The entrepreneurs for instance go to the villages get the product from those producing it and get it packaged and branded.
“I believe strongly that this has actually helped our people and engaging the people productively especially our women who have been engaging largely to ensure mass productions.
“It is about promoting local productions, encouraging and patronizing, entrepreneurs, agri-businessmen and women among others. Also, the scheme has really helped in engaging our youths in agriculture. Indeed, ‘Ounje Ileri’ has been able to engage women particularly in the rural areas”, he said.