By Kehinde Oluwatayo
The Ondo State Government has declared that the ongoing registration of farmers encroaching into the state’s forest reserves is to legitimize what they are doing in the interim and gradually move them out of the place.
Speaking in an interview with The Hope, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Agriculture, Pastor Akin Olotu noted that the state carried out farmers’ registration generally within the first three months of this administration.
According to him, the ongoing one is the registration of farmers encroaching into the state’s forest reserves.
Olotu who stated that although they are not supposed to be there said the reality is that they are there adding that government is interested in what they are doing.
His words: “Government is interested in capturing their details. We want to know what they are doing and look for a way of helping them.
“Pressure on land in the state and even the country generally is a big challenge which has to be addressed. Lateral expansion of houses has put agricultural land under serious threat. Most lands being used for agricultural purposes have given way to residential buildings making farmers to continue to move towards the forest”.
Olotu who said that government wants to save them from exploitation noted that a lot of people who know that they are not supposed to be there to collect money from them illegally.
He said government wants to know them, what they are producing and the size of land they are covering.
While saying government wants the farmers to work without panic, he stressed that they will gradually be moved out of the place so that government can build up its forest, especially those producing arable crops.
He said that there is nothing anybody can do about those producing tree crops adding that it will not be good for anyone to be destroying tree crops already fruiting.
He said more and more farmers are being registered on daily basis.