Make land available for farming –Oyebade tells govt
By Olusola Alatise
Ondo State Government has been advised to make available at least 2,000 hectares of land in its forest reserves in each Senatorial District for food crops cultivation.
This would assist the state at breaking obstacles hindering foreign and local investments in agriculture.
It will further encourge youths in agriculture and as well as give room for massive food production and make the state an exporter of food.
This was disclosed by an agriculture enthusiast, Dr. Jibayo Oyebade while featuring as a guest on The Hope Platform.
He said all the senatorial districts in the state have forest reserves lying fallow while several investors interested in farming have hectic time getting land.
Oyebade, former Ondo state commissioner for Agriculture said beside the unavailability of land, other major issue the government should look into is provision of irrigation .He noted that land, irrigation and sunshine are the tripod essential in agriculture. His words: “The tripod, we have them but we have not tapped them.
“Irrigation is very important, if you do not irrigate, do not even talk about arable crops. With irrigation, we can plant cassava two, three times, maize four to five times, beans, two to three times, on the same land in a year and our youths will move into farming massively, “he affirmed.
He said this is what is being practised in China, Thailand and many other agricultural oriented countries.
According to him, “For arable crops which is the immediate filling of the stomach, government should release specifically not less than 2,000 hectares per reserve in each of the three senatorial districts. Government should get investors to clear, irrigate and make percentage of it manual, may be one third that will create employment for youths in that zone.
The other one, allow the entrepreneurers to operate on commercial large scale.
The agreement must specify that you are producing these crops, you cannot come and dictate, it must be in the pre condition before giving out the land.
He said the idea will create hope that people are going to work there, which translates to creation of jobs, then, food production, most of the items will be locally consumed which is very important.
“It will introduce processing of such crops for export to other states and overseas and the people’s idea about unemployment will gradually disappear because, the best area to create employment is agriculture.”
On the efforts of government in the past to encourage youths in agriculture, the former chairman of Ondo State Cocoa Revolution said there had never been any strategic plan to encourage youths to embrace agriculture.
He called on the government to declare what he called agriculture for salary.
“The idea is that, plough this place, harrow and plant, then give our youths one hectare each, they maintain it and then give them percentage of the harvest, or you pay them monthly. It will seriously reduce unemployment and it should not necessarily be on a large scale,” he added.
In a community where there is youth unemployment, you don’t need to do large scale, “he counseled.
He attributed the failure in our agricultural sector to lack of continuity in programmes.
“Each government comes in with its own idea. No continuity, if there is continuity; there would have been an improvement.
On his achievement in Adekunle Ajasin University so far, he disclosed that the university has signed a memorandum of understanding with Nigeria Export Promotion Council to make the institution best cocoa curricullum university in Nigeria and that the practical aspect of it has begun with the planted five hectares of cocoa already fruiting.
He said Faculty of Agriculture of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko will become a training centre for farmers beyond Ondo State as well as introducing modern techniques of farming that will yield bountiful result.