The Agbekoya Farmers’ Association has canvassed for the support of both federal and state governments on farmers efforts to transform the agricultural sector of the country’s economy.
According to Agbekoya, the call is necessary if Nigeria is to stave-off famine, saying that the right path to thread is for government at both federal and the state levels, to encourage farmers on food security.
The National President of the group, Chief Kamorudeen Okikiola, stated this recently during the inauguration of the state chapter of the association in Osogbo.
Okikiola noted that the era of paying lip service to food sufficiency in the country is gone for good, as a nation that cannot feed itself will be at the mercy of those feeding it with the attendant danger of compromising her security.
He maintained that the association, with 275 cooperative societies and over 150,000 farmers, spread across 20 states in the country and happens to be the biggest farmers’ group in Nigeria and West Africa.
The Agbekoya Farmers’ Association, according to Okikiola, has cultivated 65,000 hectares of farmland for the purpose of planting cassava, maize, rice, yam, oil palm, cocoa and sorghum, to make food abundant for the citizenry.
He therefore, solicited the support of the Federal Government and states across the country for one digit interest on loans, incentives like machinery, seedlings, insecticides, sprayers, etc. to complement the efforts of the association aimed at attaining food security in the country.
Okikiola revealed that the association will setup three model agricultural farm settlements in the three senatorial districts of Osun State in partnership with the state government.
The farm settlements, according to him, will accommodate 2000 hectares of land to engage farmers in the production of cassava, rice, oil palm, maize, raise 1.2 million chickens and produce annually, 29 million tons of fish.
Governor Rauf Aregbesola, who was represented on the occasion by Osun State Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, Mr. Adewale Adedoyin, reiterated the resolve of the state government to partner with Agbekoya Farmers’ Association in view of their shared-vision on the food crisis facing the country.
Adedoyin said: “I am very pleased to note that the Agbekoya’s paramount objective of ensuring food security in the country rhymes fittingly with one of the most crucial cardinal goals in the six-point integral action plans of this administration. This is to banish hunger and ensure food security. This we have decided to accomplish through an aggressive and unwavering commitment to the development of agriculture in the state”.
He explained further that efforts aimed at ensuring security and development will be an exercise in futility, unless food security is first and foremost, fully guaranteed.
“Our vision is to be in a situation where we can sufficiently and easily feed our people, and to also export food to other states of the federation. This way, we can build a healthy and happy society, and help our country to reduce the huge amount it spends yearly on food importation,” he stated.
On the occasion, the title, Baale Agbe Yoruba was conferred on Governor Rauf Aregbesola for his unrelenting efforts at guaranteeing food security and developing the state economy through agriculture.
Also, Otunba Niyi Adeoye, Sir Olu Abiola, Chief Wale Fatona, Honourable Sunday Akere, Oba Aderemi Adedapo, Alayemore of Ido-Osun were all inaugurated as patrons of the association.