The Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun has flagged off the commencement of 2020 Wet Season Rice harvest in the state, a project focus under the FGN/OGSG (IFAD Assisted) Value-Chain Development Programme.
Penpushing reports that, the project flagged off on Tuesday at Sowunmi village, Mokoloki in Obafemi-Owode Local Government area was in conjuction with the Eredo Youth Farmers Association, with government assuring continue support for youth farmers.
The Governor while flagging off the programme , emphasized that his administration would continue to support youth farmers using technology driven method to woo more youths into agriculture and its various Value-Chain opportunities.
The Governor represented by the Commissioner for Agriculture, Adeola Odedina, Abiodun, said he was proud of the involvement of the youths, stressing that he was satisfied witnessing the benefits of the smart decision made at the onsent of coronavirus pandemic
“We are witnessing the benefits of the smart decision we made at the onset of Covid-19 pandemic. We said agricultural activities must continue, we were here when these youths started this venture in March this year and we are proud that we are harvesting and all other farmers around here are harvesting as well and as we are doing that, other people are planting’.
“Agriculture in Ogun State is technology driven and this is a youth group and is under youth focused agriculture. 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 encourage youths to do agriculture. Anybody doing youth focused agriculture without mechanisation and ICT should forget it’.
“Our Rice Anchor Borrowers’ Programme is also based on technology. This is extra ordinary, this is in addition to the over 1, 200 farmers we are empowering under Anchor Borrower Programme”, he said.
Penpushing further reports that, he stated that 10 local government areas in the State can do wonder like what is being done in Obafemi- Owode, and thanked the traditional rulers for giving up their land, the youth and for giving up their time disclosing that, government provided money and linkage so that the State can reclaim its position in rice production.
“When we started, we have a sound agricultural agenda but when covid-19 pandemic came in, we had to revise it so people can go and farm, it is as part of our strategy in the state to shame covid-19 that is why we are supporting the young people who amidst the covid-19, went ahead with farming”.
The Project Coordinator, Value-Chain Development Programme (VCDP), Mr Samuel Adeogun, in his welcome speech said the rice farm was aimed at motivating the youth into farming through input, mechanisation and off taking, expressing delight that the rice planted during COVID-19 lockdown was due for harvest.
The Secretary to Obafemi Owode Local Government, Hon. Ahmed Olayeni in his goodwill message eulogised the state government for the feat and also thanked the farmers for supporting the government to make the project a reality.
Penpushing also reports that, Olayemi, however, called on more youths across the state to leverage on the rice value chain opportunity offered by the government for their sustenance and wealth creation.
The House of Assembly member, representing Obafemi Owode State Constituency, Hon. Shoneye Damilola in his remarks thanked the governor, the Ministry of Agriculture and other stakeholders for teaming up to establish a scheme that would keep the youth profitably engaged.
The traditional of Mokoloki, Joseph Ogunbona while speaking expressed was optimism that the rice farm after harvest and production would not only feed the populace but also the neighbouring states, appealing that such laudable project should spread to other regions in other commodities.
The President, Youth Farmers Association, Ogun State, Mr. Ajibola Johnson thanked the government for liberating the youth through mechanised farming and for linking them with off-takers that would buy the produce from them.
Meanwhile, 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.