By Chris Chimezie
In pursuant its efforts aimed at ensuring that foods are secured for consumption and numerous jobs are created through agriculture, Ondo State Government has expressed its readiness to partner a foreign firm, Bosman Van Zaal from the Netherlands on Green House Project.
The State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu made the disclosure while receiving members of the group who paid him a courtesy visit in his office in Akure, yesterday.
Governor Akeredolu stated that the state was prepared to encourage the company to develop a veritable Green House Project that will impact positively on agriculture, by making the sector creatively attractive to young school leavers, ensure food security and encourage export in profitable magnitude.
He explained that the project was a major dividend of one of the foreign trips that President Muhammadu Buhari made last year, during which he was on the President’s entourage, and expressed the hope that the project would soon begin to manifest in diverse folds on the Ondo State economy.
While expressing the willingness of the State Government to do business with the Dutch firm, he described as fascinating, the exchange programmes available for youths to study in one of the Universities in the Netherlands, which is the best in the world in Agricultural studies.
The governor charged the State Technical Committee on Green House Project to expedite actions on the proposal of Bosman to accelerate the take-off of the technologically inspired mode of agriculture in the state.
Technical Officer of the firm, Mr. Robert Van Donk, while introducing the company, said Bosman has the capacity to carry out mono-disciplinary projects that are fully automated for the production of agricultural materials suitable for harsh climatic conditions.
He added that the Green House firm was reputed in food, ornamental plants and plants for cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries.
“We have seen in Nigeria, a great need for fresh produce because there are lots of processed tomatoes around used for cooking and proffering solutions to that for a healthy living, this is why we are here.
“Green House technology, otherwise known as smart agriculture entails growing more produce with less input which provides you with a controlled atmosphere in which you don’t depend on the weather outside, but you create the weather inside by good management and that gives you a secured food production and safety.
“It is a year-round and weekly production that is continuous, using less chemicals with high production and biological control, rather than chemical controls”,he said.
Also, a Bosman Economist, Mr Nico de Groot, noted that the astronomical growth in agricultural and horticultural products have necessitated the need for innovation.
He said Bosman has been reputed for enhancing the world in a smart, efficient and valuable manner.
He hinted that the Green House Project, apart from creating more job opportunities using high technology, enhances food security, changes the agricultural education system and pay more attention to horticulture as well as developing a kind of research institute where youths can excel.
“We want to live longer and healthy and especially the younger population are looking for safety through the food being consumed and are expecting government to take care of that and also ensure that foods bought in the market are safe for consumption”, he said.
An official of the Nigeria-Netherland Business Association, Mr Eric Okunde expressed happiness that Ondo State was exploring the Green House Project with one of the global leaders in the sector.
He assured that the business deal would be beneficial to the state and the investing firm.
Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Governor on Agric and Agribusiness, Pastor Akin Olotu explained that the Green House technology is the way to the future in agriculture, adding that it enables farmers to condition their crops, use less water, less labour, get higher yields and be able to guide against pest infestation.
Olotu who added that the project is mainly about food and nutritional safety, stressed that government is looking at the gap between supply and demand in the country in terms of tomato and pepper considering the upsurge in global population.
He maintained that Agriculture is the only surest means of reducing unemployment, guaranteeing food sufficiency as well as engaging the youth productively, saying the state will continue to be on the path of greatness through the enhancement of agricultural activities.
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