In line with his administration’s agenda on food sufficiency, job creation and industrialisation, Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, has flagged-off the commencement of 2020 Wet Season Rice Harvest at Sowunmi Village, Mokoloki, Obafemi Owode Local Government Area of the State.
Represented by the Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Adeola Odedina, Abiodun, said his administration would continue to support youth farmers, using technology driven method to woo more youths into agriculture and its various Value-Chain opportunities, saying this necessitated its collaboration with Eredo Youth Farmers Association, as a pilot under the FGN/OGSG-IFAD Assisted Value-Chain Development Programme.
“We are witnessing the benefits of the smart decision we made at the onset of Covid-19 pandemic that agricultural activities must continue. These youths planted in March and we are proud to harvest in August. The beauty of it all is that, as we are harvesting, another set of farmers are planting.
“We have seen the excitement of using mechanical harvester just as it was also planted mechanically. In Ogun state, rice is a serious business and this is one of the ways to attract youths to agriculture. Our Rice Anchor Borrowers’ Programme is also based on technology”, he said.
The Governor reiterated that the ongoing rice project would be replicated in 10 other Local Government Areas of the State, appreciating traditional rulers for releasing their land and the youth for their efforts to ensure that government investment and linkage on the project was successful towards reclaiming its position in rice production.
In his welcome address, the Project Coordinator, Value-Chain Development Programme (VCDP), Mr. Samuel Adeogun, said the rice farm was aimed at motivating the youth into farming through mechanisation and guaranteed off taking, expressing delight that the rice planted during COVID-19 lockdown was due for harvest.
In their various remarks, House Member, representing Obafemi Owode State Constituency, Hon. Shoneye Damilola and the Secretary, Obafemi Owode Local Government, Hon. Ahmed Olayeni, thanked the State Government and other stakeholders for the scheme, which he said would keep the youth profitably engaged.
The Onimoko of Imoko, Oba Adeola Ogunbona said he was optimistic that the rice, after production, would not only feed the populace but also the neighbouring states, appealing that such laudable project should be sustained, so as to achieve food sufficiency.
On his part, the President, Youth Farmers Association, Ogun State, Mr. Ajibola Johnson lauded government for liberating the youth through mechanised farming and for linking them with off-takers that would buy the produce from them.
Other dignitaries at the event include, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Agriculture, Dr. (Mrs.) Angel Adelaja-Kuye, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Dotun Sorunke, Project Manager, Ogun State Agricultural Development Programme, Deaconess Taiwo Ayansanwo, Oniro of Iro, Oba Nafiudeen Eyiowuawi, among others.