An Outstanding Awards To An Excellent Performer, A Reflection on Ogun Agriculture - AMEBO ONLINE NEWSPAPER

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An Outstanding Awards To An Excellent Performer, A Reflection on Ogun Agriculture

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Only did we know that an award of excellent performance as the (Best Governor) of the year in Agriculture was on the way for His Excellency, Prince Dapo Abiodun when our editorial titled ‘ Agriculture: The need for Southwest Government to wake up’’ alluded to the positive direction the Ogun State government was already tolling to change the narrative, especially in the outgoing year that is generally believed to be ridden with food insecurity and turbulences occasioned by Covid-19 pandemic, climate change challenges and insecurity generally.

 

Governor Dapo Abiodun in company of his active commissioner of Agriculture, Dr. Samson Odedina gallantly walked into the conference room of Sheraton to receive this award as the best Governor of the year in Agriculture based on performance evidences in the food value chains especially in the running year (2020) when the economic lock down has incapacitated many productive activities occasioned by the restriction of movements of Nigerians, even as farmers were not spared.

All these opposing odds were never seen as log in the wheel of progress by His Excellency in Ogun State, but rather a challenge to be tackled head on using the potential in the sector to reposition the economy into an active vehicle of job creation to the youths and women towards increasing Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and economic empowerment for the people with more food security, sustainable capacity to become an epic centre of food and commercial hub to the entire nation.

 

Apart from this Abuja award as mentioned, many other awards from other organizations who have also noticed the state’s performance in Agriculture and contribution to food security were all the reasons to this quick reflection on what is grandstanding the Governor for all these accolades that kept coming endlessly, or better still, what he has done differently that is making the state to get its agricultural policy rightly towards agribusiness and commercialization expectations.

One propelling factor to the level of achievement recorded in the sector according to the Commissioner of Agriculture, Dr. Samson Odedina was that the state is very competitive in arable crops like cassava, plant, yam, maize, sweet potato, and cash crops like cocoa, oil palm, timbre, kolanut, cashew and rubber. All these cum the strategic location of the state with her proximity to Lagos for local and international business attractions were opportunities the present administration of Prince Dapo did not allow to go untapped, but was rather harnessed into agricultural investment opportunities through the value chain development and produce export with evidence of the youths and women engagement in Agricultural business activities to make a good living.

 

 Odedina said that Governor Dapo Abiodun was very magnanimous of the need to use Agriculture as pillar on which the economy of the State can solidly rest on to close the food gap and unemployment, thereby saving the economy of the nation from being collapsed due to import bill from food importation, added that Ogun state has deliberately deepened food production, enhance value chains productivity and investment friendly environment for agro-industrialists and smaller farmers.

Strategically, what really makes a great deal of difference in the approach to achieving positive progress within a short period in view of covid 19 pandemic disease includes, an holistic integrated approach to production, processing and marketing through land provisions/inputs distribution, processing and marketing with individuals and corporate organizations partnership such as cassava-ethanol processors in Agbara, rice factories, egg power and garri processing factories adopted by the present administration to revamping the sector. All these according to Dr. Odedina were towards boosting FG green alternative which aims to tackle core challenges limiting food productivity through import substitution industrialization to creating jobs.

 

Undaunted with Covid-19 pandemic disease, the State’s strategies to checkmate food challenges were superb to ensure uninterrupted agricultural activities that sum up to this achievement, and ensued awards to His Excellency. The earlier flagged off of 2020 planting season in March was a quick to win strategy aimed at mitigating restriction and other challenges farmers might have encountered during the lock down in the state as 40,000 smallholder farmers were supported with inputs (seeds, cassava cutting, insecticide and herbicide), just as 10,000 farmers were given fertilizers palliative cum continued support to production and processing locations in the food and farms in the state.

 

Particularly in rice production, the self sufficiency record within the year was due to support given to many smallholder farmers to embark on 2020 dry and wet season farmings, with harvest on March and August respectively, thereby leading to round year production as the state supported the young farmer groups with over 900 hectares of land preparations in 17 locations for 2,500 unemployed youths and farmers in cassava production. Other milestone achievements include: Strategic partnership with international development partners and farmers in large-scale cultivation of rice and cassava in 36 locations in 11 LGAs

 

In the livestock sub sector, the impact of the present administration is obvious through enhanced proactive programme and support to the youths and private partnership with corporate companies like Fan Milk Plc for dairy backward integration to reenergise the commercial activities along the value chains according to Odedina, who said the plan to resuscitate Agriculture into a dynamic money spinning machine in the state was just starting as livestock would also be put at the front burner.

 

He pointed that the broiler scheme of the State has been able to empower about 54 pilot youths who had successfully completed three cycles of broiler production with each making profit of N150.000.00 per cycle for three (3) cycles cum ability to produce meat worth 3.24 metric tonnes from broiler, stressed this is a youth focused and nutrition based scheme as there are over 9,000 registered interests in the project, and Government has concluded concrete plans to replicate the project in the 20 local government areas of the State

It will be recalled that Prince Abiodun, at the official handover and closing/offtake ceremony of third (final) cycle of the pilot Ogun broiler project held at Odeda Farm Institute on Thursday, 8th October, 2020, said: “I welcome stakeholders to yet another Agricultural event which is in tandem with the Agricultural Agenda of Ogun State Government which include Food Security, Job Creation, Industrialization, Private Sector Partnership and Strategic Partnership with all Agencies in the Food and Farm Sector. You will recall that the Ogun Broiler Project, whose worthy ambassadors are seated in their full radiance, started first operation on 23rd December 2019, with 54,000 day-old chicks. Our youths ran this first cycle successfully for six weeks, making record breaking achievements of profit, minimum mortality rate possible and good feed conversion rate. This performance in their first outing as young people, who voluntarily embraced Ogun State Agricultural Value Chain Opportunities in Poultry, turned the attention of the whole world to themselves, as role models for youth participation in profitable and exciting agricultural opportunities’’

Striking Agricultural linkage programme and job creation

*Strengthening of Ogun State Agricultural Linkage Programme: Over 70,000 registered interests from farmers, including youths and unemployed graduates in Agricultural Value Chain Programmes (AVCP) cut across nine (9) agricultural commodities (Cassava, Maize, Rice, Fishery, Poultry, Cattle, Piggery, Cotton and Oil Palm);

*Linkage of 4,462 participants to inputs and credit to the tune of N700m in the cassava value chain, and 1,065 participants to inputs and credit to the tune of N300M in the rice value chain through the CBN/Ogun State Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP).

*Linkage of 800 participants to inputs and credit to the tune of N360Million under the Ogun State Government/Federal Government/IFAD Assisted Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP).

*394 Maize Farmers, 54 Rice Farmers and 21 Poultry Farmers in Ogun State have benefitted from the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) through CBN.

 

Agricultural Investment Promotion Activities

 *The Executive Order on Framework for Responsible and Inclusive Land Intensive Agricultural Investment (FRILIA) was signed by Prince Abiodun on the 25th of March, 2020 to promote and encourage land-based opportunities in the state.

 

*Agricultural Investment Promotion with over 30 National and International Investors, at different levels of engagement for Public Private Partnerships (PPP) in the State, targeted at Agricultural Industrialization, Job Creation and Food Security. Such include but not limited to: United Green, United Kingdom; Fan Milk Plc; Arla Foods Denmark; Indorama Fertilizer Ltd, Abuja; Hyst Global Ltd “Okun Rice”, Lagos/Ogun; Patec Foods, Kogi State (Aquaculture); Amobyn Nigeria Ltd, Lagos (Poultry); British American Tobacco Nig. Foundation (Enterprise Development), Tractorise Agro Company Ltd, Lagos; Savannah Concerns Development Company, Abuja; Origin Tech Group Nigeria Ltd, Lagos;CropIT, Lagosetc.

 

 *Expression of interest were received from 300 private firms to partner with Ogun State to provide Farm Mechanization Services, Input Service Delivery and in the Development of key Value Chains which include Cassava, Rice, Fish, Poultry, Cattle, Dairy, among other commodities.

 

Strategic Partnership with National and International Development Agencies

v  Federal Government/IFAD Assisted Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP), include but not limited to the following milestones:

*9,048 farmers have been supported with improved production inputs for Rice and Cassava, in Eight (8) participating LGAs of VCDP in the state.

*6,812 farmers have been trained on good Agronomic practices on Cassava and Rice

*Construction of 20km access roads in Obafemi-Owode, Yewa North and Ijebu North East LGAs.

*Construction of 14 solar-powered water schemes in Ijebu North East, Obafemi-Owode, Yewa North, Ifo, Ijebu East, Odeda and Odogbolu LGAs.

*Construction of four Cassava Processing Centres at Baara, Alapako-Oni, OkeIyemi and Ayetoro, and Rice Processing Centre in Eggua.

 

v  African Development Bank (Proposed Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone).

v  World Bank/Ogun State Economic Transformation Project (OGSTEP) for 40,000 farmers in Nine (9) priority value chains (cassava, maize, rice, soybean, tomatoes and pepper, sesame, fishery and poultry).

v  Proposed World Bank COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (CARES) Project;

v  Proposed World Bank-Assisted Agro-Processing, Agricultural Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement (APPEALS) Project;

v  EU/GIZ/Federal Government/Lagos State/Ogun State Nigeria Competitiveness Project (NICOP) for 3,000 farmers including youths, in tomato and chilli pepper value chains;

v  International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA): Agricultural Technological Innovations and Support to Farming and Related activities, including technical backstopping, demonstration farms and enterprise development in Ogun State

v  Central Bank of Nigeria (Cassava 5-Star Programme, Cocoa Development Initiative and Oil Palm Expansion Programme); Federal Government/Ogun State Government/IFAD Assisted Value Chain Development Programme for over 3,000 farmers in Eleven (11) Local Government Areas of Ogun State.

 

OGUN-CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme for 1,065 Young Cassava Farmers

On specific cassava intervention, the Central Bank of Nigeria/Wema Bank/Nigeria Cassava Growers Association/Ogun State Anchor Borrowers Programme linked the third batch of 1,065 Young Cassava Production farmers to credit amounting to N234,590,745 (N220,273 per farmer) across the 20 LGAs of the state, on 8th October, 2020. These farmers have also been linked to inputs (herbicides, agrochemicals and improved planting materials), and guaranteed markets.

This third batch release was for young people, whom Prince Abiodun had approved land clearing for in Nine (9) locations namely: Apojola, Odeda LGA; Asa, Ewekoro LGA; Ojoowo/Ijebu Igbo, Ijebu North LGA; Omogbawojo, Odogbolu LGA; Pagbonrin, Imeko-Afon LGA; Itoro, Yewa South LGA; Ojere Village, Obafemi Owode LGA; Ikenne Dairy Farm, Ikenne LGA; and Obafemi Town, Obafemi Owode LGA.

Other registered farmers, including young people, who are yet to be linked to credit under the Anchor Borrowers Programme are advised to follow, and regard updates only from the authorized source, which is, Ogun State Ministry of Agriculture.

Also, work is in progress for farmers who are close to land clearing sites in Afon Farm Estate, Imeko-Afon LGA and Atoba, Remo North LGA. These have been verified by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) with physical and digital geotagging. Meanwhile, land clearing and preparation, verifications and geo-tagging by the Ogun State Ministry of Agriculture, CBN and other stakeholders, are ongoing.

 

Finance support to Young Farmers, Export Promotion

 The “Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Programme  has disbursed Seven Hundred Million Naira (N700,000,000) to five thousand, one hundred young farmers to grow cassava and another three hundred million naira (N300,000,000) to 1,000 young rice farmers within a season, a process that was facilitated by the State Government in collaboration with farmers’ organization. Some of the beneficiaries were drawn from the state's job portal.

Under IFAD/FG Value Chain Programme, the sum of three hundred and sixty million Naira (N360, 000,000) was also disbursed as credit linkage to 8,000 people to grow rice and cassava. Odedina noted that this is happening for the first time in the history of Ogun State, a reflection of leadership commitment to creating economic sustainability, raw material availability for industries export promotion and job creation. The government was providing for off-takers and processors in the agriculture sector.

In view of all the aforementioned, the choice of Prince Dapo Abiodun as the best Governor of the year in Agriculture for the 2020 should be seen as a right step to encouraging more performances of states’ Government in the sector for increased effective good policies implementation towards job creation and economic empowerment of the citizens.   

 

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