Two significant events took place in the State of Osun this week. Both of them indicates a forward thrust to lay strong foundations in the state. The initiatives are interlocking and in this way a synergy is being created here into a critical mass.
The first initiative is the signing by the Osun Produce Board (OPB) of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Osun State College of Technology, Esa-Oke in order to boost commercial agriculture in the state of Osun through advance Technology. As the Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of the Osun produce board, Dr Yemi Adegoke pointed out during the signing, “… the MOU is in line with the vision of the present government led by Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola to boost agricultural production and improve the income for all that are involved in the agriculture value chain”.
Very well stated by Dr Adegoke, for it is absolutely critical in the process of modernisation leading to industrialization that there must be an upliftment of the process from subsistence to commercial farming. This is the only way to revitalise a stagnant rural economy and uplift the living standards of farmers. Involving the Osun State College of Technology, Esa Oke is also very important. For the transition to commercial farming must be focused on technology and research which the institution is eminently suited to provide. The synergy will be decisive.
The modernisation of Agriculture will certainly be decisive for the state to meet the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) target of N10 billion monthly proposed by Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola. Modernizing agriculture means that the State of Osun will be operating on the framework of the State of Iowa In the United States. The comparison is important. Iowa is a very successful economic example. It does not have the[minerial] resource base of much larger Texas, the technology industries of California or New York’s turbo-charged financial services industries.
Nevertheless, Iowa is a sterling success story. The state has leveraged its highly developed agriculture through technology, research and cutting edge commodities exchange mechanisms to provide very high living standards for its citizens. Osun must look at the Iowa model as well as the Cooperative model of The Netherlands. It is astonishing that the Netherlands with less than a third of the landmass of our own Niger state, consistently exports over $100 billion worth of Semi-processed and processed agricultural commodities a year. For Osun this is the way to go.
Ogbeni is absolutely correct to point the way forward. Osun must build on the framework of taxation as the way forward to sustainable development. In his words –”So we must henceforth let the people of Osun know that if Lagos could earn N41.7 billion as IGR every month, then it will unthinkable and irresponsible for Osun not to strive to make N4.1billion every month.
“That is what we need. It is the least we can work on. So by 2028 if Osun must be modern, we must have capacity to generate N10 billion monthly.
“So, the communiqué of this workshop must develop the capacity to support the state in its quest for development in practical term that will make Osun one of the best, economically viable in Nigeria”, Aregbesola told the gathering.
He added, “The reason for this summit is on how Osun will be in 2028. We must through this summit, acquire capacity to be able to fashion out ways of improving our revenue base because one thing we cannot deny is the economy fact that in 10 years to come, there will be no economic value for crude oil.
“We must also be conscious of the future population explosion in whatever economy we are planning by educating the people against the effects of reckless procreation because if we failed to take the bull by the horn, the present population in the country would have risen to 200million with similar effect on each state of the federation in 10 years time.
“Thus, we must aggressively pursue local production on our own to overcome unemployment and the consequences of it, otherwise, we will still be facing challenges”.
This is the incontrovertible roadmap for the future. The political will as well as the robust resolve is clearly there. What will be vital for the future of another generation is to ensure the continuity of this laudable objective by electing a progressive government on the 22nd September, 2018 to continue this framework. All hands must be on deck to achieve this.