Kwara State Government has canvassed for more investors into the state, especially those who would make the state an agro-industrial hub of Nigeria.
Deputy Governor of the state, Mr. Kayode Alabi, who made the appeal during his inspection visit to Versa Farm, mechanised tomatoes and pepper farm at Oke-Iya Ipo, Ifelodun Local Council, said the geographical location of Kwara as a gateway between the North and the South, coupled with its large expanse of arable land, makes the state the dream of any agro-allied investors.
“I came here as a private citizen who is interested in farming. What I have seen on this farm shows that the only way forward in Nigeria is farming. The oil sector seems to be gradually fading away.”
Alabi praised the farm owners for their vision, to have chosen the part of agriculture for a living, advising other Nigerian youths to shun paid employment for agriculture.
The joint owners of the farm, Olasunkanmi Mustapha and Ibitiye Toheed Ibrahim said the need to feed Nigerians without much reliance on importation remained their motivation for establishing the large expanse of land measuring 50 hectares.
“This is one of the gaps we want to fill by embarking on the massive growth of both hybrid tomatoes and pepper for the local consumption of Nigerians. Currently, we harvest about 14 tonnes of tomatoes and 10 tonnes of peppers every week.
“Over 50 workers of various cadres are on our payroll. That number would multiply when we commence the massive production of tomato pastes,” they said.
As parts of their Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR), to their host communities, they disclosed how they have assisted in the payment of external examination fees of some students and sinking of motorised boreholes for the people.
They, however, appealed to the state government to construct roads into the farm for easier movement of goods and constant supply of electricity to reduce high costs of alternative power supply.