IT is obvious that the Nigerian economy is adjusting to the significant decline in oil revenues and foreign reserves, hence the engagement in agriculture as an alternative to oil.
IN response to this adjustment, Ondo State Governor Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) on assumption of office adopted five cardinal points to accelerate the state’s economic transformation during his tenure with job creation through agriculture as number one focus.
THIS is as a result of the Governor’s belief that agriculture alone could mop up at least half of the able-bodied youths who throng the labour market in search of jobs.
SINCE his inauguration, the Governor has continued to assure citizens that his administration will do everything possible to encourage investment in agriculture for economic growth across the state.
THE Governor further declared the readiness of his administration to reposition cocoa cultivation, draw more farmers to the farm through sensitisation and incentives and in the long run return the state to its glory days.
IN view of these, the State Governor embarked upon cocoa rejuvenation through the resuscitation of 1, 774 hectares of the cocoa farm estate at Oda village in Akure South Local Government.
THE initiative tagged Cocoa Revolution Project (CRP) is to establish and rehabilitate 100 hectares each of old and new cocoa farms for farmers as a model for adoption.
THE administration recently trained 18, 000 youths on various agriculture businesses through a programme of the state, Agric-Business Empowerment Centre(OSAEC) tagged “Youth on the Ridged”.
GOVERNOR Akeredolu, who launched the training at the Federal College of Agriculture, Akure, described agriculture as a major sector that creates jobs and added that the initiative was a proof of his administration’s efforts to improve the state’s economy via agricultural development.
WITH a large landmass and abundant mineral and natural resources, Ondo State has extensive fertile soil suitable for agriculture; with sub-savanah forest suitable for vast forest resources, a variety of timber species, cash crops such as rubber, cashew, kolanut, oil palm, among others – all waiting to be explored and exploited maximally.
TODAY, poultry farming, fish farming and other animal husbandry ventures have become a lucrative business that anyone could establish with a minimal capital and education.
The Hope urges the State Government to make loans available to farmers whose interest fall under these categories so that they can expand their business and be able to contribute to the economy of the state.
ANOTHER profitable business that is yet to be explored maximally is the Okitipupa Oil Palm Company, to drive job creation and stimulate economic activities for agri-business development in the neigbouring localities and generate revenue for the state.
THE agriculture sector plays a strategic role in the process of economic development of a state. Increased agriculture output and productivity contribute substantially to an overall economic development of any state. Agriculture remains the basic source of food supply of all the countries of the world.
DUE to the heavy pressure of population in underdeveloped and developing countries and its rapid increase, the demand for food is increasing at a fast rate. Raising supply of food by agricultural sector has therefore great importance for economic growth of a country or state. Since the agricultural sector has a high potential of transforming the fortune of the state and improving the supply of raw materials for agro-based industries, The Hope commends the present administration for efforts at creating jobs through the sector and appeals to the Governor to expedite action in making youths develop interest in it.
FINDINGS have shown that many who want to go into farming are discouraged because they do not have the money and land to farm. The Hope urges the State Government to give financial support in terms of grants and loan to interested youths as well as give compulsory professional periodic training to increase their skills.
WE also appeal to the present administration to make land available for interested farmers and also continue to subsidize farm implements to further encourage the citizens, especially youths, to participate in agriculture. Findings have shown that the shortage of agricultural goods has an impact on industrial production and a consequent increase in the general price level.
WE urge the State Government to place a greater emphasis on the further development of the agricultural sector for the improvement of industries across the state.
SINCE Ondo State is known as one of the leading producers of cocoa in Africa, The Hope urges the State Government to consolidate on this achievement and improve in other areas of agriculture so that the state can compete favourably in agricultural development with countries within and outside Africa.