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I am highly delighted to welcome you all to Osun Farmers’ Field Day 2019 – Odun Alagbin

I especially welcome our farmers to this event and congratulate them on this Special Day. They are our allies in the march towards food sufficiency, poverty eradication and job creation.

Agriculture remains the mainstay of the economy of The State of Osun. As the backbone of our economy, the sector has vast potential for sustainable revenue, employment generation and critical infrastructural development that are reminiscent of the glorious days of Cocoa economy in the Old Western Region.

This sector provides food for the citizens, raw materials for the agro-allied industries and employment of over 70 per cent of our economically active population.

Osun Farmers’ Day is an opportunity for farmers to come together, discuss their challenges and be introduced to new practices and varieties of agricultural technology.

The practice of Agriculture has always thrived with government providing the necessary enabling environment for practitioners. Our vision as an Administration is to make Osun the food hub of the South West. We will make agriculture profitable and ensure food security as part of our eight-point Agenda designed to wholly transform the Agriculture sector in the State.

We have the will as an Administration and your massive turnout today is proof that you are ready to partner with us to transform our dream of food sufficiency, poverty eradication and job creation into reality. Our strength include huge fertile land all over the State, good rural roads, urban road networks, relative rainfall pattern and above all the relative peaceful co-existence between the herders and farmers.

In line with my campaign promises, government has embarked on a number of projects to enhance the economic base of farmers and the State.

Under the partnership with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), the State government has provided 205.5 hectares of land in Ago Owu for the purpose of conducting researches and setting up demonstration farms for best farming practices.

Prior to this partnership, government agencies and relevant parastatals have always provided systemic support to our farmers through various innovative interventions with a view to making Osun the main hub of agriculture in South West Nigeria. One of such laudable programmes is the implementation of the Osun Rural Enterprise and Agricultural Programme (OREAP).

Through this programme, some innovative ideas were implemented. These include the private sector-led Farm Input Supply programme, the establishment of the Osun Agricultural Land Holding Authority (the Land Bank), the revitalization of existing farm settlements in the State, massive construction of Farm-to-Market Roads in different parts of the State under the Rural Access Mobility Projects (RAMP), Osun Broilers Out-growers Production Scheme (O’BOPS). Farmers in the State of Osun have access to agricultural loans, passable roads, fertilizer and agriculture support services, among others.

The extension service delivery arm of the Osun State Agricultural Development Programme (OSSADEP) is being fortified to avail farmers of new and improved up-to-date farming practices. The Osun State Agricultural Development Corporation (OSSADEC) has been repositioned to serve our farmers better.

Consequently, all these noble initiatives have resulted in sustained growth of the State’s economy, with attendant creation of wealth, jobs and improved standard of living.

How do we plan to further improve the productivity of our farmers and revolutionize agriculture sector in the State? Some of the initiatives that will move the sector forward that we have identified are as follows:

Firstly, our government will expand the Land Bank programme by providing additional 20,000 hectares.

We will establish new farm settlements, agro-industrial parks and produce markets. The farm settlement would focus on integrated agricultural development on crops, livestock, fisheries and comprehensive farm service centres where farmers will have access to farm inputs, extension services, information and market intelligence services, produce storage and other support services. Farm settlements in urban centres would incorporate green house and vertical farming for growing vegetables, pepper and others.

Linked to an aggressive programme of mass food production, the agro-industrial parks as special economic zones will focus on improving agricultural productivity and quality standard and attracts investment.

To support our farmers, we are ready to go into Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) in the agriculture sector. We will also facilitate the provision of affordable access to farm machinery and equipment for farmers and youths in agriculture.

Our Administration owes a debt of gratitude to our critical development partners, the Central Bank of Nigeria, IITA, Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN) and National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT), and several others who have been very supportive of our dream and drive to take agriculture to the next level.

I would like to put on record, the backing of our lawmakers. They have provided substantial budgetary provisions and oversight support to make our vision for the Agriculture sector realizable. They have also given us their assurances to do more.

Today’s event is an investment in the lives and welfare of our people. It is an investment whose dividends will be huge in the next harvest season and whose template will deliver sustainable food supply in subsequent years.

I would like to reiterate my promise that this Administration would continue to give maximum support to our farmers.

Our partners, eminent farmers, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, it is now my pleasure and honour to welcome you once again to this Farmers’ Field Day 2019 as I wish our farmers a bumper harvest year.

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