Osun farmers demand GSM network at farm settlements

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Vox Media

The farmers in Osun State said they want the digital mobile network of the Global System for Mobile communication to be extended to the farm settlements in the state to enable them link up and connect with the modern world.

One of the farmers, Moruf Babalola, made the appeal during the 2018 Odun Alagbinla, which was held at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture Research and Training Farm, Ago-Owu, Osun State.

The Alagbinla Festival was organised by the Office of Economic Development and Partnerships and the State Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security in collaboration with All Farmers Association of Nigeria.

Babalola also said the farmers needed financial support to increase their efforts on their farms.

He appealed to government to facilitate telephone networks to farm settlements in Ago-Owu to enable farmers communicate effectively and link up with the modern world.

He urged the state government to address the problem of the Fulani herdsmen who are making life difficult for the farmers.

He said cows have destroyed their farms and farmers do not feel safe on their farms because of the fear of the Fulani herdsmen.

While sensitising the farmers on ways to run their farms to avoid losses and make huge profits, an agricultural expert, Prof. Peter Akpopodion, highlighted the best practices in agribusiness and charged the farmers to embrace them.

The Director General of OEDP, Dr. Charles ‘Diji Akinola, who was represented at the event by the Coordinating Director in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Dr. Olubukola Aluko, told the farmers that the administration of Governor Gboyega Oyetola has good plans for them.

Akinola said the state government wants to establish nine new farm settlements with one in each of the federal constituencies in the state and to also establish agro-industrial parks and produce markets.

He said: “The state government will consolidate on the agricultural land expansion programme with additional target of 20,000 hectares for farm settlements to encourage and boost agriculture in the state.

“The new farm settlement would focus on integrated agricultural development on crops (Maize, Cassava, Rice, Tomatoes, Vegetables, Yam, Plantain, Cocoa and Oil Palm), livestock, fisheries and Comprehensive Farm Service Centres, where farmers will have access to farm inputs, extension services, information and market intelligence services, produce storage and other support services.”

Akinola said the farm settlements in the urban centres would incorporate Green House and vertical farming for growing vegetable, chillies, pepper and others.

Oyetola, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Benedict Gboyega Alabi, assured farmers in the state of great deal of support in terms of motivation and encouragement to enhance agriculture value chain and ensure food security in the state.

Oyetola said the state government has been supporting farmers through various innovative interventions with a view to making Osun State the main hub of agriculture in South West Nigeria.

Oyetola said he was impressed with the enthusiasm with which the farmers in the state embraced the strategic partnership between the state government and the IITA.

Oyetola said the state government released 205.5 hectares of land in Ago Owu to IITA for the purpose of conducting researches and setting up demonstration farms for best farming practices

He noted that records have shown that this innovative partnership has enhanced the method of farming being used by the hardworking farmers and consequently improve their yield and its attendant inflow of income.

The governor said Osun State is an agrarian economy with farmers constituting over 70 per cent of the population and that he was interested in ensuring that they continue to have access to agricultural inputs that will enhance their productivity.

His words: “To do this, our administration is determined to build on the achievement of the past administration of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola through the implementation of programmes that would promote a better livelihood of our hardworking farmers and ensure food security in the state.”

He said one of the laudable programmes was the implementation of Osun Rural Enterprise and Agricultural Programme through which some initiatives have been implemented.

Oyetola said farmers in the state have had access to agricultural loan, roads, fertilizer, agriculture support services, among others through the government farmer-friendly initiatives

He said the government initiatives to help the farmers have resulted in sustained growth of the state economy with attendant creation of jobs and wealth as well as enhanced food security.

Oyetola said some of the initiatives include the implementation of the private sector-led Farm Input Supply programme, establishment of the Osun Agricultural Land Holding Authority (the Land Bank), revitalization of all the existing farm settlements in the state, massive construction of Farm-to-Market Roads in different parts of the state under the Rural Access Mobility Projects and Osun Broilers Out-growers Production Scheme.

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