16th October, 2011
Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State has said that his administration was making efforts at ensuring availability of food in abundance in the state, so as to bring about less dependence on imported foods by the people of the state.
Governor Ajimobi stated this today at a special church service marking the World Food Day held at the Methodist Bishopsâ€™ House, Molete in the state capital.
According to him, as a first step, the government has finalised plans to introduce agricultural programmes in post-primary schools in the state, in order to encourage the youth to take active part in agriculture.
The governor, who was represented by the Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural and Natural Resources, Mr. Bimbo Kolade, noted that the programme was aimed at bringing back the youth to agriculture, stressing that the present average age of 60 years of farmers in the state would not augur well for future development of agriculture and ensure food sustenance.
Governor Ajimobi explained that the programme would be piloted in one school in each of the 33 local government councils in the state, with focus on three major farming systems which include poultry, fisheries and planting of vegetables.
Governor Ajimobi urged Nigerians to cultivate gardens in their homes where vegetables could be planted for domestic consumption.
He urged the people of the state to plant vegetable such as okro, spinach, tomatoes, pepper, etc. at the back of their houses or within their compounds, stating that this will ensure that people eat fresh farm produce, which would make them healthier and also help families save some money.
The governor pledged the readiness of the state government to collaborate with religious organisations to spread the gospel of going back to the land for the development of agriculture and provision of sufficient food for the masses.
According to him, â€œas a government, we want to bring back agriculture in the state. We are encouraging the school agricultural programme whereby at least one school will have either a poultry farm, a fish farm or a dry season vegetable farmâ€.
Apart from other efforts being made by the government in ensuring food security, the governor said that his administration has also started distribution of fertilizer through the Cooperative group of farmers in their localities, stating that this had commenced in Afijio and Iseyin local government areas.
According to the governor, the state has also started discussion with the local food processing group like the garri, fufu and cassava flour processing group to see how government could help them produce high quality garri for export.
According to Ajimobi, a joint stakeholders meeting was held on Thursday 13 October with all stakeholders in cassava planting and at the forum, the Federal Government and the state government outlined areas of collaboration in value chain to cassava production and processing, towards establishing processing companies that will process cassava and food items from cassava for export purpose .
In his sermon at the occasion, the Very Rev Williams Egbetakin stressed the need for government at all levels to place emphasis on food security to improve the lot of the people.
He admonished the people of the state in particular and Nigeria as a whole to develop interest in keeping home gardens which he said could prevent hunger, poverty and violence.