Yinka Kolawole in Osogbo
Osun State Government has said that it is putting plans in place to diversify its economy into agriculture and mining as part of its post COVID-19 economic revival strategies.
This was disclosed through a press statement by the Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, Mrs. Funke Egbemode, after the fifth virtual State Executive Council meeting, held yesterday.
Egbemode announced that the State Executive Council agreed to empower 5,764 farmers to grow cassava, cotton and engage in fish farming, with the help of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
According to her, 12 Local Government Areas have also earmarked about 2,000 hectares of agricultural land in addition to the existing Farm Settlements across the State.
Speaking on the state’s immediate agricultural intervention, Egbemode said: “On Thursday May 21, the state will be flagging off its planting season. It has already moved farming equipment into its Ila Farm Settlement”.
“At the launching, the state government will be distributing improved seedlings, pesticides and herbicides, knapsack sprayers, among other things, to improve yields of farmers in the state. The state government will also train 1,000 farmers in specialised farming”, she added.
Speaking on the state of mining in the State, Egbemode announced that the Gold Buying Centre in Osu was ready, and the state is set to maximise the economic benefit of the Centre.
She quoted the governor of the state, Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola, as saying: “Mining is the new frontier of the economy of Osun. The state government is therefore planning to sanitise the sector so as to reap maximum benefit from it”.
Oyetola, commenting on the state’s actions against illegal miners, said that the state government was not interested in witch-hunting anyone, rather, it wants to regulate mining activities within the State.
He said that: “if we do not sanitize the sector and take out illegal miners, we may end up with the kind of challenges that have left the Niger Delta region of the country with devastating environmental issues.
“We are determined to weed out illegal and criminal elements who are causing havoc on our environment. We will do our best to ensure best practices in our mining sector,” Oyetola added.
Reacting to the activities of illegal miners in the State, Egbemode said that the state government will continue to comb its mining sites to rid them of illegal miners.