Thursday, 13 April 2017

Exploring The Songhai Option For Oyo Agric Revolution

IF there is anything that occupies the mind of the Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi
today, it is how to explore the agricultural
potentials of the state to rescue it from the current
economic downturn and turn around its fortunes.
It is noteworthy that the state is blessed with the
largest landmass of 28,454 square kilometre, which makes it unarguably the largest in the entire
Southern part of the country. with this advantage
of vast arable lands, Oyo State has available water
bodies of no fewer than 22 dams, coupled with the
largest concentration of agricultural research
institutes. These are the International Institute of Tropical
Agriculture, IITA, Cocoa Research Institute of
Nigeria, CRIN, Institute of Agricultural Research
and Training, IAR&T, Forestry Research Institute
of Nigeria, FRIN, Nigerian Institute for Social and
Economic Research, NISER, and Nigerian Institute of Horticulture,NIHORT, among others. Beyond tapping into these to ensure the state
becomes the food basket of the nation through
massive agricultural outputs, the governor has also
gone a step further by establishing an agriculture
initiative known as ‘AgricOyo’ through which the
government has brought local government councils, traditional rulers, out-growers and off-
takers, interested individuals and corporate bodies
to get actively involved in agric business. The
overall objectives of creating one million direct
jobs across the agric value chain and turning the
state into the food hub of the Southern part of the country are thus being pursued vigorously by the
state government. This is apart from the ongoing
construction of 10,000 metric tonnes silos in Oyo
town which is aimed at enhancing preservation,
storage, value addition and price stability of food
items in all seasons. Even though some measure of success has been
recorded from all these initiatives, it is Governor
Ajimobi’s belief that more could still be achieved in
the agriculture sector. Consequently, the
governor was in Porto Novo, Republic of Benin,
from March 14 to March 15, 2017 on a working visit to Songhai Regional Centre, which is
described as the largest integrated agricultural
centre in the West African sub-region. On the trip with the governor was the Secretary
to the State Government, Mr. Olalekan Alli;
Commissioner for Agriculture, Prince Oyewole
Oyewumi; three Special Advisers, two members of
the state House of Assembly, other top
government and ministry of agriculture officials. The delegation was received by the Director of the
Songhai Centre, Prof. Godfrey Nzamujo.

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