Abiodun Oluwaseun Laurel , a member of GSM Advocates
Clearly, there are several untapped potentials and numerous opportunities in the agricultural sector generally. These untapped potentials will, if properly harnessed, help transform the fortunes of the State. In achieving this, the government is expected to provide a proper foundation which involves an enabling environment and a vision that is achievable for the future.
It is my personal belief that the ultimate objective of this administration’s investment on road infrastructure is to make agriculture a major driver of growth for the State’s economy by easing the stress of traveling and transporting agricultural products from rural to urban area.
As against what was obtainable in the previous administrations whereby investors contend with bad roads with little or no government’s support which all formed a major hindrance against large-scale commercial agriculture, this administration’s investment in agribusiness will definitely elevate it among the top five agricultural producing States in the country.
The commissioning and commercialisation of Fashola Farms will allow investors from far and near to put their resources into production and value chain development of crops such as cassava, rice, cotton, maize and soyabean.
Oxford Business Group 2013 declared that “Oyo State is the 12th-largest crop producer and the 15th-largest livestock producer in the country.
Although, there are some niche areas, such as poultry, where it outstrips the others in terms of production. The agricultural sector is therefore one of the key priorities of Oyo’s Restoration, Transformation and Reposition agenda and economic development plans. The sector offers opportunities in a variety of areas, ranging from husbandry and fisheries to cash crops and downstream processing, but reaching its full potential will require significant investment to restructure and modernize the industry.”
The Youth Entrepreneurship in agribusiness project which kick-started fee years back is aimed at encouraging the youth to venture into agriculture and onboard them through the Fashola farms and also empower them through the SAFER Loan with the hope of reducing the pressure on the ageing farmers thereby making available enough for State’s consumption and also excesses for exports to neighboring states.
The commencement of activities by Milkin Barn Agriserve LTD , one of the multiple companies who are investing in agribusiness in Oyo state at Fashola Farms is an addition to the sustainability development goals of the State.
According to news, the company acquired 350 hectares of land, with 200hectares allocated to production of Maize, 50 hectares for pasture development and livestock management of 250 animal barn projecting to 1000 cattle to produce 15,000 liters of milk per day aside direct job opportunities the company is going to help reduce the deficit of the needed quantity and quality of milk consumed in Oyo State after full production.
This is the time for Oyo State Government to make the process of accessing Fashola farms for investment easier, more investment in publicizing the project and a full expository of how it intends to run it so that multiple viable companies can invest in other sectors of agriculture at the site.
Oyo State has a favorable climate for equatorial crop production and livestock rearing. A wide range of tree and arable crops are being produced, including cocoa, oil palm, cassava, yam, maize and rice, among others. There is an equally strong horticultural output of fruit crops such as oranges, cashew, mangoes, tomatoes and bananas among others.
Makinde is laying the foundation to prosperity and the citizens should embrace and support this initiative for posterity.