Gov. Ajimobi of Oyo State has launched an agriculture initiative tagged, `AGRIC-OYO` with 28, 000 hectares of land aimed at diversifying the economy of the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the initiative launched in Paago, a village in Iseyin Local Government Area of the state on Tuesday, would be replicated in 28 other agrarian councils.
The governor said the initiative would create employment opportunities and increase the revenue earnings of the state.
He said it would also reposition the state as the food basket of the nation.
According to him, the implementation model of AGRIC-OYO is three-pronged; off-takers/investors, expansion of existing large farms in the State and the pilot scheme, which is fully sponsored by Oyo State Government.
“The pilot scheme will serve as an incubation centre, “ he added.
He stated that each of the 28 agrarian councils had donated 10, 000 hectares of land in their respective areas for the purpose of making agriculture the main stay of the state’s economy.
“Introducing this initiative is to add value to at least one million people through value chain of Agriculture.
“It is majorly initiated to enhance the economy of the state and make it the food basket of the Nation.
“Our lands are generally suitable for all-year round plantation of various agricultural crops, and can produce without irrigation throughout the year.
“Oyo State, compared with other states in the South West, has the largest total area of 28,454 square kilometres and arable land area of 22,478 square kilometres with the official population of approximately seven million.
“In Southern Nigeria, the State has the largest arable land mass 415,030 smallholder farm families, 9 organised farm settlements, 26 State-owned dams, 10 federal-owned dams, 41 large farms and agribusinesses.
“The state can also boast of four Agricultural Zones and 28 Agrarian Local Government Areas, over 5 world class Research Institutes.
“Our State is also the largest producer of Cassava in Nigeria with 1.73 million metric tonnes, Poultry business with 750,000 metric tonnes and Aquaculture with 30,000 metric tonnes of fish.
“I can confidently assure all current and potential investors that Oyo State is advantageously positioned as the best destination for agriculture business in the entire Southern part of the Nation, “ the governor said.
Ajimobi also said that facilities have been put in place in all the 28 council areas to ensure the successful implementation of “Agric Oyo Initiative.
According to him, the state have put in place various infrastructures like dams, irrigation facilities, warehouses and a 10,000 metric tonnes silo.
“Because we have an aging population of farmers, we designed and successfully embarked on a School Agriculture Programme to bring young people into farming.
“We have enhanced the status of our College of Agriculture at Igboora to conduct researches and liaise with the State and Local Government Departments of Agriculture for value adding agricultural education.
“We have promoted extensive utilisation of irrigation and extension services through OYSADEP and on the verge of revitalisation of OYSADEP for more efficient and sustainable extension delivery system, “ he said.
NAN reports that, the event was witnessed by farmers of various groups and associations, investors, markets men and women associations, monarchs among others. (NAN)