By Kolawole Olayinka, Abeokuta
The various efforts of the Ogun State government aimed at revolutionalizing the cultivation and processing of rice, thereby making it available for the entire citizenry as well as meeting increasing demands from other states has come to stay.
Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Adeola Odedina who led a team on a tour to the 900 hectares State’s Rice Project in Eggua, Yewa North Local government, posited that in no distant time, government efforts at providing linkage, land preparation, inputs and off taking opportunities would begin to yield the forecaseted positive results in the rice value chain.
He noted that the state government will not renege on its avowed food sufficiency as it would ensure matchless support for food production and processing locations as practical response to food security and job creation challenges amidst Covid 19 and economic downturn.
Assuring the over 1,000 youths rice farmers further opportunities in agric, Odedina said ” we are working with them (youth farmers), who have keyed into opportunities in Rice, we will link them to land, inputs and our own rice mill will also off- take.I am happy to be associated with these youth farmers, we have huge land resources across the state suitable for rice farming, the rice revolution in Ogun State is here and nobody can stop it.
“What we have here is massive and together with what we have in other locations of rice farm in the state will no doubt give us a bumper harvest so, consumers and our citizens should be rest assured. We also want other youths contact us at the ministry of Agric and we will guide them through”.
Odedina, who later inspected the operations of a one ton per hour Rice Milling machine facilitated by the state government located within the farm said the machine would serve the cluster and farmers would not need to look for milling elsewhere.
“We have signed off taker agreement with big time Rice Miller. The machine donated by the federal government but facilitated by the state government is a demonstration of our resolve to further extend the frontiers of rice farming and young people can now grow, process and package their product.
The focus of the state government is also private sector participation, it is also about empowering the youths, we are also interest in facilitating community processing hub, we have machines that can handle up to 80 tons of paddy, this is one of exciting rice processing hubs in ogun state and we are ready to supply the whole of ogun state, Lagos and to some extent, other parts of the country, he said.
Speaking, the permanent secretary in the ministry, Dr. Dotun Sorunke said the state government is releasing resources to farmers saying, ” this is a land owned and cleared by the state government and in continuation of what we are doing in Anchor Borrowers programme, under so many window that we want to assist the youths, improve food security as well as create jobs”.
In his remarks, the Care taker Chairman, Yewa North Local Government, Bankole Babatunde said he is particularly happy because the programme captures the youths, saying it has addressed to a large extent, the challenge of unemployment in the locality.
Chief executive officer of Group farmer in the area Niyi Ogungbade said with the timely intervention of the state government, the challenge of technical know how, marketing, funding and security was now over, appreciating the government for the great support.
Also speaking, the Baale Agbe of Imeko and a member of the state’s Anchor Borrowers Steering Committe, Oloye Abdulazeez said the development was a new dawn in Agricultural business in the state, and the farmers would be the better for it.