Friday, July 22, 2011

Gov. Fayemi of Ekiti State goes to farm with youths

It’s no longer news that several millions of Naira was being expended annually on food importation in Nigeria, this probably has tempted Ekiti State governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi to head for the farm
empowering peasant farmers financially and materially.

Recently, he officially flagged off farming season at well attended ceremony by growers of different farm produce announcing facilities made available by his administration to enhance the efficiency of the farmers and their produce.

He’s desperate to modernize agriculture as quickly as possible with a view to activating the state as “a major food basket in Nigeria” on one hand and improving the living standard of the farmers and the people on the other.

it’s a known fact, Ekiti State is an agrarian landmass with statistically confirmed over 70 per cent of its population involved directly or indirectly in farming, but the state could not boast of feeding its people without importing foods from other parts of the nation, including yam noted be outstandingly grown at Ilasa-Ekiti.
In his bid to redirect the psyche of farmers and unemployed in the state, the governor at the cost of N250million rolled out 60 units of tractors and associated implements such as plough disks, harrows disks, for the use of farmers in the state in place of cutlasses and hoes originally used by peasant farmers.

Leading youths in the state to farms, Fayemi opened up 16,000 hectares of farmland across the state targeting at least 20,000 youths for training and engaging them in mechanized agriculture. This is expected to decongest the rowdy unemployment market in the state.

As part of the crust of his agenda, Fayemi appears to be taking the state back to the old Western Region days of generating revenue mainly from agricultural products as he has concluded plans on establishing 1000 hectares of cocoa plantations, 500 hectares of oil palm plantations, besides providing quality and high yielding seedling species for all established and prospective farmers in the state.

This, according to the governor would be done through Public Private Partnership PPP.
To confirm the determination of the governor in making good this programme, 400,000 hybrid cocoa seedlings are being grown at the nursery, which would be ready for distribution before the end of this month as well as 200,000 various tree species. They would be sold to farmers at subsidized prices to encourage farmers to expand the scope of production at less cost.

Despite the rich soil nutrients, the governor still made available about 6000 metric tones of fertilizer to the farmers at subsidized rate, in addition to several agro chemicals and hard wares, which he noted would chore up the Gross Domestic Product GDP of the state.

Last week, Fayemi, through Micro-credit scheme, empowered 780 women who engage in processing and marketing of agricultural products, among who were Mat Weavers, Potters, to the tune of N40 million.
The state-owned hatchery at Isinla in Ado-Ekiti would soon be completed for fish production; abandoned feeds mill in Ado-Ekiti is also due for completion soon, besides the weaving hall at Sericulture factory.
It could be observed that the agricultural programme was all encompassing as all aspects of agriculture were taken care of in the projects.

At the flag-off ceremony, some of the farmers, who spoke with Daily Sun applauded the practical approach of Fayemi-led administration in attending to yearnings of farmers with all sincerity, but offered some suggestions for the success of the programme.

The state Chairman of National Cotton Association of Nigeria NACOTON, Mr. Dauda Adebayo suggested that the state government should establish a ginnery where cotton harvested would be processed before sell it to textile industries.

He observed that this would improve the proceeds as well as the IGR that would be realized from the produce by the farmers and government respectively.
He disclosed that if cotton growth is well funded and a ginnery is established in the state, produce from the state alone would be sufficient to resuscitate the moribund Oodua Textile Industry in Ado-Ekiti, which he disclosed sourced its cotton product from Kaduna ginnery before it folded up.

Elder Ijamusan Ezekiel, the state chairman of Bee Keepers Association, described the programme as an eye-opener to so many people in the state, noting that bee-keeping was lucrative.
He disclosed that the association was looking for more people in the state to come into the business, assuring every prospective bee keeper of technical advice.

In his projection, however, Governor Fayemi expected to transform the socio-economic sector of the state through the agric programme, confident of get 50 per cent of the state IGR from agriculture.

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