No fewer than 6,000 farmers have been given farm inputs by the Osun State Government, as part of measures aimed at enhancing food security in the state.
Governor Gboyega Oyetola said the state had created an enabling environment for agric businesses to thrive so that more youths and investors could earn a living and create employment opportunity through the establishment of cottage industries.
The initiative was intended at encouraging genuine farmers and youths who have chosen farming as a profession, in order to ensure food security. The governor, who stated these while flagging off the year 2020 planting season at the Government Secretariat, Abere, Osogbo, said his administration considered it necessary to support all farmers to boost agricultural production, as part of efforts to ensure food sufficiency and availability of raw materials for industries in the state.
He said the administration understood the important roles played by farmers, in developing the economy of the state, stressing that the government had engaged captains of industry to patronise arable crops and livestock farmers among others, to make agribusiness more lucrative.
The Governor said the state had strengthened collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)/Nigeria Cassava Grower’s Association (NCGA) and is firming up plans to distribute agro-chemicals, fertilizer, and herbicides to over 2, 000 farmers through the Anchor Borrowers Programme, which previously took care of 611 cotton growers across the state in the 2019/2020 season.
He stated further that the state had approved the release of funds to the Federation of Fadama Community Associations (FFCA) to offset the outstanding balance of two John Deere tractors and other complimentary implements to support the community for the Year 2020 planting season.
According to him, the state is also making Power Tiller available to rice farmers at subsidised rate, in line with the cardinal goal of food security and sufficiency of the administration. He said: “In the face of dwindling revenue generation from Crude Oil, which has been the mainstay of the nation’s economy, this challenge presents a great opportunity for serious and would-be farmers to take advantage of.
“In view of the above, our government considers it necessary to support all farmers in the state to boost agricultural production, which will ensure food sufficiency and availability of raw materials for our industries.
“In the previous years, our supports were in the form of subsidised inputs. But this year, we are giving agricultural inputs such as maize seeds, cassava cuttings, vegetable seeds, lime, fingerlings, and knapsack sprayers free to farmers to cushion the effects of COVID-19 on all the citizenry within and outside the state.
“Also, arrangements are in top gear to disburse soft loans to small and medium- scale enterprises at a reduced interest rate through the Bank of Agriculture (BOA).”