The Ondo state government has accessed a two billion Naira loan to encourage youth engagement in Agriculture processes to sustain crop production and food security.
Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu said that the loan acquired under the Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme (CACs) would also be used for the development of agriculture projects across the state.
Governor Akeredolu made this known at the flag off of the 2019 Agricultural Season held at Mariwo Farm Settlement in Ifedore Local Government Area.
He said that; ”agriculture is critical to achieving food security, wealth creation, employment and income generation.”
Planting crops were distributed free of charge to farmers.These include 150,000 hybrid Cocoa seedlings for 600 farmers at 250 seedlings each; 400kg of maize seed for 200 farmers at 2kg each; 400kg of rice paddy for 80 farmers at 5kg each; and 500 bundles of cassava cuttings for 100 farmers at 5 bundles each.
Governor Akeredolu told the ”farmers that the current food situation in the state could be improved if mechanised farming was embraced as a catalyst for conquering hunger and unemployment through massive food production.”
Self sufficiency in food production
He explained that there was no doubt that the current food situation in the state and country at large called for more commitment to agriculture development to realise the dream of self sufficiency in food production.
”Parts of my administration’s policies and programmes initiated to assist farmers and generate employment included the establishment of modern agricultural village at Jugbere, Owo Local Government Area where 500 farmers would be engaged on a four hectares of cocoa plantation each. It also included raising and distribution of 500,000 cocoa and 250,000 cashew seedlings to farmers to further boost cocoa and cashew production in the state,” he explained.
Governor Akeredolu said; “the State Government has conducted arrangements to distribute additional 100,000 cocoa seedlings for 2019 planting season,” he said.
“Ondo State is collaborating with the Nigerian Government on National Egg Production Scheme with 64,000 layers and 32 of our farmers are currently participating in the scheme, 18000 youths from Ondo are on Youths on Ridges Programme, we are training over 2,500 youths on Cassava Value Addition by OSAEC and partnering with foreign and private investors,” the Governor stressed.
Commitment to agriculture
“This year’s event is the second of its kind since this administration came on board. After over half a decade of neglect, this is a demonstration of our commitment to the development of agriculture in the state,” Governor Akeredolu added.
The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Adegboyega Adefarati lauded Governor Akeredolu for his unwavering commitment to youths empowerment and agriculture development in the state, saying that the improved planting materials given to the farmers and youths would encourage them.
Mr Adefarati explained that the erratic trend of rainfall this year actually called for great sensitisation of farmers, particularly arable crop farmers to avoid waste of resources.
He added that the Ministry of Agriculture would embark on sensitisation programmes both on radio and television, urging farmers to plan their activities along the line of the sensitisation.