By Kehinde Oluwatayo
Senior Special Assistant to Ondo State Governor on Agriculture and Agric Business, Pastor Akin Olotu has reeled out the state government’s agricultural programmes as the dry season sets in, calling on the people to key into it.
Speaking with The Hope in his office on Monday, Olotu said the state government is working on open field-cultivation of tomato, pepper and some other vegetables, adding that some youths will be engaged in that regard.
Olotu said the programme will take-off soon so that their produce will be out between February and April next year,
He added that”we cannot continue to depend on what comes from outside the state”
“As we all know that the price of these products escalates around February and March and we want to stabilize it “, he said
He equally stated that the 200 youths who benefited from the Anchor Borrowers Arrangement will be supplied their day old chicks by next week.
Apart from these, Olotu said the rice mill at Alayere will be commissioned by the state Governor, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), hopefully this month or early next month .
“The place is ready, we have test run the machine and everything there. We want to bring in some paddy rice, fairly large quantity, we want to have the produce on the shelve while commissioning is going on. So as soon as we are able to gather the rice, commissioning will take place”, he stated.
In addition, Olotu said that three tractor mechanisation centres are already completed.
The SSA who said arrangement had been concluded with farmers for the supply of eggs and broilers for the schools feeding programme, said part of state government arrangement is to bring in some NPower participants who will be disengaged shortly into agriculture.
“Part of government’s arrangement for some of the N-Power participants who will be disengaged shortly is to engage those who are interested in any aspect of agriculture for instance the school feeding programme since there is readymade market for them”.
According to him, the ground breaking ceremony of the Cassava Ethanol Project at Okeluse will definitely take place this year, but a lot of activities will take off next year, because the fund we have been waiting for will materialise in a couple of weeks hopefully in November.
“We will be able to engage more youths, those who we have interviewed and those who we have trained that we have not engaged, because we engage gradually.
” The Governor is also talking of empowering market women since there is link between market and production. The Governor is planning to make fund available to them so that those who are doing petty buying will have money to do their business.
“So bulk of our big ventures will take off hopefully next year, those that involved foreign partners and those that involved very big inputs. We have made everything ready, i’m sure things will unfold at a faster speed from January next year by the grace of God,” he enthused.
Olotu who called on the people of the state to key into what government is doing for a better Ondo state and Nigeria said the people must be ready to stay in the rural areas and stop roaming the streets.
According to him, people from other regions are coming and are staying in the rural areas of the state and are creating wealth for themselves.
He added that cocoa is largely being produced by the people from other regions.
He charged the people to be patient with the administration, adding that the Governor is laying a solid foundation to give the state economic base that is sustainable.
He said what is going on in agricultural sector is not what can be seen on Oba Adesida road, adding that by the time the fruits are coming out people will appreciate him.
The SSA who said agriculture and agribusiness required strategic thinking, planning and implementation, stated that agriculture is the key to zero oil economy being talked about in Nigeria.
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