In line with the current drive by the government to diversify the economic and revenue base of the country, Heritage Bank and Oyo State Government have gone into a multi-billion naira partnership to revive agriculture and boost agro-allied businesses in the state.
Tagged, ‘Oyo State Agricultural Initiative,’ OYSAI, the state government announced that the project was part of its revolution in the agriculture sector and a massive empowerment programme for both the youth and women across the state.
Speaking at the launching of the project in Paago Village, along Igboho – Okeho road on Tuesday, the state governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, explained that the state has “successfully secured a viable partnership with some private investors and financial institutions to back up the project in the areas of poultry development, rice production and processing along the value chain.”
The governor thanked Heritage Bank and other partners for electing to support the project aimed at diversifying the state economy and drive self-sustainability by adding value to the lives of about one million beneficiaries. He added that the project will also reposition the state as the food basket of Nigeria and generate massive revenue for economic emancipation.
“Farming is attractive; we want to make it more attractive. The programme will create jobs, wealth and socio-economic productivity. It will link agriculture to small business and manufacturing. The programme will also improve the lot of women, youth and small scale businesses,” Ajimobi said.
The project, according to the governor, will spread across 3,000 hectares of land in 28 out of the 33 Local Government Areas of the State. He added that the project will be in three stages: food crop cultivation, cash crop/horticulture and food processing.
Under the arrangement, land, improved seedlings, fertilizer and farming equipment will be made available to participants in the projects, while the bank will support willing agro investors with funds and advisory services.
The bank’s Executive Director, Lagos, South West and Corporate Banking, Mrs. Mary Akpobome, who represented the Managing Director/CEO of Heritage Bank, Mr. Ifie Sekibo, at the launching stated that the project was in line with the bank’s vision of partnering with individuals, organisations and governments to create, preserve and transfer wealth across generations.