Osun State government in the last eight years has provided necessary farm inputs and infrastructure that have transformed the fortune of farmers and boost agribusinesses in the state.
However, one major albatross, The Guardian learned is transporting farm produces to market. For years it was gathered farmers were running at a loss, as their produce perish before getting to market. This has become a thing of the past, as the state through its Rural Access And Mobility Project (RAMP), has completed over 700km of rural roads across the state.
The Development Communication Specialist of RAMP in the state, Mr. James Oladoja Adedokun, said 202km of the roads were rehabilitated across 14 local government councils in partnership with World Bank RAMP Project.
“Additional 300km of rural roads were delivered in partnership with World Bank, 30 bridges and 100 culverts constructed for easy access to different farms and also for farmers to move their produce to the market. 57.21km rural roads were constructed in Iwo region, 58.4km in Ife Region1, 49.164km in Ife Region 2, 47.32km in Ilesa Region and 26 bridges in 17 LGAs,” he said.
Official sources told The Guardian that under the outgoing governor farmers were supported to cultivate 80 hectares (ha) of yam clusters across the state, 410ha of rice at Onilapa and Ogbagba, while 2,000 farmers were empowered to plant 1.3 million suckers for refined plantain flour production aside the Greenhouse established in Wasimi.
Media aide to the governor, Ahmed Mustafa, who took The Guardian on tour of some of the project sites, said a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), was signed with International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) for the establishment of demonstration farm (204.39 ha) at Ago Owu Farm Settlement to train farmers.
He said: “Over 33,200ha of land was allocated to 950 farmers across the state. We constructed 120 cribs, two commercial and six smallholder feedlots, a new vet clinic in Ejigbo and eight-room (Vet centre) kennel in Osogbo and centralised modern abattoirs at Iwo, Osogbo, Ilesa and Ile-Ife.”
Aside the additional 5,000 new farmers’ cooperatives registered, Mustafa disclosed that 160 youths in the four cooperatives were trained in cattle farming, while N40m loan was given to pig farmers’ cooperative society, apart from the direct financial supports given to 11,510 farmers in 461 farmer cooperatives.
One area that has received endless recommendation, according to Mustafa is the reviving of Cocoa Products Industry in Ede, which now produces cocoa liquor, cake, powder and butter, after 30 years of redundancy.He added that the state partners Ag Vest Greenhouse on Commercial Horticultural Projects to produce tomatoes, pepper and sweet melon in commercial quantity.
He added that the partnership also led to the establishment of Commodity Purchase Scheme in conjunction with Unicapital Limited for maize and soybean and the establishment of agro input distribution scheme with Unicapital limited on the operation of Farmers Input Supply and Services Company (FISSCO).