Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi has said his administration would give priority attention to agriculture and rural development in order to reposition the state as a food basket of the country.
The Governor said that farming remained the number one pre-occupation of Ekiti people, saying his government would partner with the farmers and some private organisations to boost food production through agric business.
According to him, Ekiti State has the capacity to become the food basket not only for the region for the country at large, because of its rich farm lands , adding that government needed to do was to create enabling environment, and support the farmers with infrastructure and access to funding.
Fayemi who stated this when he inspected facilities at the National Food Reserves Agency’s silos in Ado-Ekiti on said the Federal Government set up the Silos as a repository for food storage that people can fall back to during non-harvest period, added that his administration would encourage farmers to take advantage of the storage facilities, which he said were currently under utilised.
The governor noted that the importance of agriculture in the state’s drive towards economic development cannot be over emphasized, adding that great will and determination were needed to put the economy in big agricultural production footing.
He said Ekiti state was endowed with capacity to produce a variety of agricultural products if the right resources were provided to farmers especially provision of storage facilities.
The governor encouraged farmers to go beyond subsistence farming and embrace large scale farming for commercial purpose.
He recalled that his administration pioneered an approach to agriculture beyond farming by setting up Youth in Commercial Agriculture Programme and Technical and Agriculture College to ensure consistent line of mid-level manpower.
He assured farmers of the commitment of his administration to accelerate agricultural development by taking necessary steps to ensure that farmers are properly encouraged to plant more crops.
“Part of the reason why the Federal Government set up these Silos is to ensure that we have a repository for food storage, so when the season is not the producing season, we have an alternative to resort to and its not just that we eat everything that we produce, because there is always going to be a period when there is a dearth in the market.
“I am aware that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has put up a bid for people who are interested to run the Silos to take them up, we are hoping that process would be completed soon and that would be put to use.
“And we can then encourage our own farmers to go beyond subsistence farming, that is really the challenge, there is no point having a facility like this if it is not going to be utilised and it can’t be utilised if we don’t produce food in commercial quantity.
“Grains particularly in commercial quantity. Be it rice, be it maize, soya bean, all these things require rededicated approach to agriculture beyond farming. That is what we pioneered when we set up the Youth in Commercial Agriculture Programme and that is why we set up a Technical and Agriculture College so that there is a consistent line of mid-level manpower. For this to become a model, agriculture is the way out,” he said.