Says Nigeria’s $20bn food import bill is unsustainable
The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, traditional rulers, people and farmers’ of Okomaje, Oja Oko, Otan-Ayegbaju, Boluwaduro Local Government area of the state defied the heavy downpour of Thursdayevening to convey an interactive meeting on the farm land.This was just as the governor said that Nigeria’s current $20bn food import bill is unsustainable adding that Nigeria must grow enough to feed her population.
Farmers cooperative societies who benefited from the State of Osun sponsored One billion Naira Bank of Agriculture (BOA) micro credit facilities lauded Governor Aregbesola for being at the vanguard of agricultural revolution.
A prominent traditional ruler- Owa of Otan-Ayegbaju, Oba Lukman Adesola Ojo Fadipe and farmers commended the present administration for her quick agricultural intervention aimed at making agriculture more attractive to young ones.
He stated that the state government through its farmers’ friendly policies and programmes had created enabling environment for farmers to thrive.
The monarch and the farmers gave the commendation while hosting Governor Aregbesola at a special meeting tagged ‘governor’s interaction with farmers’, at Okomaje, Oja Oko, Otan-Ayegbaju, Boluwaduro Local Government Area of the state.
In his remarks, Oba Fadipe described agriculture as an indispensable panacea to the present shortfall in crude oil, saying the impact of the state in building a productive, workable and effective agricultural system had been largely felt by all farmers.
He said Governor Aregbesola has greatly supported farmers in the state, commending the state for its timely provision of agricultural incentives, loans and other needs to farmers across the state.
He charged the youths on the need to show more interest in farming, saying it is high time for all to go back to farm.
In the same vein, some farmers who could not hide their joy at the meeting, saluted the Governor for prioritising agriculture since assumption of office.
While confirming the positive impacts of the present administration towards agricultural advancement, the farmers said the governor has helped in breathing new life to farming in the state.
The farmers who are made of cocoa growers, cassava growers, plantain growers, vegetable and pepper growers, maize and yam growers among others, attributed some of the achievements made to government’s consistent intervention.
One of the farmers, Mr. Muideen Abidoye, a pepper grower said the timely support received from the state government has helped on large scale farming.
He said, “every right-thinking person knows that Osun state government led by Governor Aregbesola is doing its best for farmers especially on financial and material supports.
“Government provided loan facilities for us just as many benefited from other supportive means. As for me, I have over 20 hectares of land planting pepper, tomatoes, potatoes, cassava among others with the support gotten from government. Same goes to others who are into different agricultural production”.
The Governor applauded the farmers for feeding and building the nation through what they chose as career.
Aregbesola said his government has prioritized agriculture with a view to turning the state to food basket of the nation.
He said as part of his administration’s six-point integral action plan deliberately designed to banish hunger and enhance massive increase in food production, several interventions had been made by his government over the years to champion the course.
The Governor held that the current administration under his watch has supported the farmers and rural dwellers with their needs which include basic infrastructures.
He charged farmers on the need to be more dedicated, more proactive and proficient especially at the time the economy of the country is yearning for diversification.
He said, “It is now glaring to us that crude oil has gone to base. We have seen the challenge facing our monolithic economy. Oil is no more sellable in the market as it used to be.
“The era of crude oil has gone. What we must think of now is how to successfully diversify our economy.
“We must all go back to farm because agriculture is the only way out to this economic mess. And we are so blessed in this part of the world with a weather condition that support lucrative farming unlike some other parts of the world. But unfortunate, our craze for foreign taste is so huge that we put undue pressure on ourselves. Today, Nigeria’s import bill stands at a staggering $20bn. That is unsustainable.”
He expressed joy that Osun has over the years invested hugely on agriculture. He concluded, “We have initiated several agricultural interventions for our farmers to grow as we believe that ‘no farmer, no nation’.”