In line with its diversification programme and part of efforts to make the state of Osun the food basket of the West, the state government has embarked on all year round farming through massive irrigation system.
The initiative was aimed at fulfilling one of the six-point integral action plan of the present administration, which is to banish hunger through massive agricultural production.
The farms with 40 acres of land capacity each across 24 local governments of the state are being cultivated to encourage the agriculture revolution agenda of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola led administration in the state.
The new farming system, an initiative of the volunteers of the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES), encompassed solar-powered irrigation to encourage all round farming across the seasons.
While inspecting one of the 40 acres of the already cultivated farm land at Ilesa, during the first harvest of the hybrid cucumber cultivated by the OYES cadets, Aregbesola said that the decision was to make the state to be self-sustaining and self-sufficient in food production as well make Osun the food basket of Western Nigeria.
He said the initiative was aimed at fighting the scourge of irregular farming by encouraging modern agriculture practices through irrigation system.
Aregbesola, who expressed delight over the commitment showed by the OYES cadets, said the state has turned a new leaf in agriculture.
He said,“With this giant stride in agriculture, it is not a doubt that Osun can boast of all round cultivation of major commodities like sweet potatoes, cucumbers, and exotic vegetables.
“As we have this farm in Ilesa, we also have similar ones in 24 Local governments across the state. This is aimed at fulfilling our commitment at banishing hunger, poverty and unemployment, as the scheme wouldn’t only encourage irrigation farming system but also build confidence in the youths towards agriculture.”
He said,“As we all know, food and shelter are too essential for the survival of humanity and no serious government will trivialise the need to encourage agriculture, particularly at a time when the value of crude oil is progressively sliding into zero.
“It has been brought into public knowledge that in the next 20 years, it will be practically impossible to import food, not because there won’t be money to do so, but there won’t be food to import.
“So, to prevent this unforeseen circumstantial uncertainty, then it is time to go into massive food production capable of making us self-sufficient and as well encouraging surplus for export.”
“Our major economic product, crude oil, will soon become unpopular as it is evident that in the next 25 years, there will no longer be a serious automobile company that will be producing petroleum-powered vehicles.”
Aregbesola urged the youths to demonstrate the passion for farming, instead of chasing non-existent white collar jobs.