Gov. Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State has sought the support of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the agricultural development of the state, particularly in cassava and maize production.
The governor made the call on Wednesday in Ibadan during the inauguration of the State Project Monitoring Team and State Technical Advisory team of the Federal Government’s Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS).
The Federal Government launched AADS, as part of its efforts to diversify the nation’s economy, boost food security and transform agricultural production.
Ajimobi, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Chief Moses Adeyemo, said that Oyo State could develop to become the richest state in the country if its agricultural potential was fully harnessed and utilised.
He urged the CBN, a principal partner in the scheme, to increase funding for the production of cassava and maize, in which the state had a comparative advantage.
He also charged the committee members to put in their best in efforts to eradicate hunger in the country and create job opportunities for the youth.
“The purpose of this inauguration is to quickly heed the call of President Muhammadu Buhari on the diversification of the nation’s economy from oil towards agriculture.
“The president has made it clear to all that agriculture is our surest alternative to oil.
“Our state is leading in the production of maize and cassava and with the support of the CBN; we can be the best producer of these and other crops in the country.
“We want to call on the CBN to look into how to increase its budget for this scheme, especially in the South West (geopolitical zone) as the vegetation here is quite different.
“Our farmers will have to clear thick bushes and trees to cultivate their crops,’’ he said.
Mrs Tolulope Sadipe, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Projects and Bureau of Investments Promotion (BIP), said that maize and cassava were picked for Oyo State because the state had in comparative advantage in the cultivation of the two crops.
“The targeted commodities under the scheme include rice, maize, cassava, cotton, soy beans, wheat, cocoa, oil palm, fishery, poultry and dairy production, as well as tomatoes and piggery.
“Each state is expected to identify a maximum of two commodities where it enjoys a comparative advantage.
“Our state has identified maize and cassava as the two commodities of preference,’’ she added.
Sadipe said that the newly inaugurated committee would ensure the sustainability of the state’s efforts to empower farmers and provide employment for the youth in the state.
The special adviser commended the CBN for the visit and the inauguration of AADS Project Monitoring Team.
Members of the State Monitoring Team include Sadipe, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Oyewumi Oyewole and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Victor Atilola.
Others are Mr Musibau Olatinwo, the Branch Controller of CBN, Mrs Fadekemi Akande, Mr Adegoke Adenrele, Mr Emmanuel Akinola and Mrs Titilayo Folorunso.
Members of the State Technical Advisory Committee of AADS include the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Olalekan Alli, and the Special Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture, Prof. Segun Adekunle.
Others are Mr Sikirullahi Fajimi, Ms Ganiyat Olawoore and Dr Morounkola Thomas.