The Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, along with some State officials, has designed an implementation plan to chart a path for transforming agriculture in the State.
At a retreat facilitated by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, IITA, in Cotonou, Republic of Benin, Governor Makinde set a record in governance, by spending more than 72 hours, with his State officials, to design an implementation plan for Oyo State agribusiness.
In a statement released by the IITA, the Governor also promised officials of the State that his administration would give agriculture the necessary ‘political will’ to play its role and transform the economic fortunes of the State.
“I want to assure all the participants that Oyo State will provide the political will needed to make the State the agribusiness hub of Nigeria,” he said.
Makinde pledged to attract more private investments to agriculture by providing an enabling environment for the private sector to invest in the State.
He said the State would ensure agribusiness-friendly policies that would boost investors’ confidence.
The retreat provided an opportunity for the Governor to unveil his vision for agriculture in the State, as he had pledged, on assumption of office on May 29, 2019, to transform the narrative of agriculture with a view to making it the pillar of the State’s economic development.
On his part, IITA Deputy Director-General, Partnerships for Delivery, Dr Kenton Dashiell, commended the Governor for demonstrating an uncommon leadership style by participating in all the sessions of the three-day retreat.
Dashiell stated, “I have never seen such a commitment from a Governor… and I believe the document coming out of this retreat will help the State to achieve the vision of an agribusiness hub for Nigeria.”
The Director for Agriculture and Agro-Allied Division with the African Development Bank, AfDB, Dr. Martin Fregene, who spoke at the retreat via Skype, said the commitment of Oyo State to agriculture was a step in the right direction.
He noted, “Let me also commend you (the Governor of Oyo state) for organising this very important meeting and participating fully in it to have a vision and an implementation plan for agribusiness in the State.”
Dr. Fregene urged the Oyo State government to adopt the agri-business approach to unlock the potential of agriculture in the State.
He explained that, “For Oyo state to move forward in agriculture, you must treat agriculture as a business.”
According to the AfDB Director, the Bank would be willing to support the State in its quest to transform agriculture.
The Executive Adviser to Governor Makinde on Agriculture, Adebowale Akande, gave thumbs up to the retreat, adding that recommendations from the retreat would help the State to achieve its vision of becoming an agribusiness hub.
The retreat had four sessions comprising: Developing a Vision for the State in Agriculture, Identifying the Obstacles to the Vision, Developing Strategic Actions to Deal with the Obstacles to the Vision and Developing an Implementation Plan.