The Oyo State agricultural initiative AgricOyo, was held at Paago, via Iseyin, in Oke Ogun Zone of the state yesterday, Tuesday April the 26th. The event was graced by investors, outgrowers, beneficiaries, institutional partners, traditional rulers, and top officials of the state. During the event, the governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi said confidently that this would create one million direct jobs across the Agriculture value chain thereby taking many unemployed youths off the streets. Ajimobi also said that the state would become the food basket of Southern Nigeria in the short run when the programme starts in full, with the main aim of feeding the country.
The governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi via this event, has voiced his concern on the raging controversy trailing the alleged sponsorship of a bill at the National Assembly. The bill provided for the creation of grazing zones for cattle across the country as a panacea to the perennial clash between trespassing herdsmen and farm owners. The state governor further probed that the proposed creation of grazing zones across the country is ill-advised. He warned that it was against the spirit of the land use act and overriding public interest.
In his words, he said: “This is the time to call a spade a spade. Those clamouring for creation of grazing zones across the country should have a rethink. It is against the Land Use Act; it is against the law of natural justice to seize people’s land to cater for someone’s cattle. “Grazing zones could be created for those who are traditional cattle rearers in their areas. I’m not against that. But, you cannot come here and tell me you want to occupy our land for grazing zones. The land exists in our respective states and as such the righttful owners should decide what to do with them”.
“Anybody outside this zone willing to rear cattle here will need to approach the state to buy the land and we offer what is available with rules. There is no free land for grazing zones. We need to take this firm position. It won’t happen.”
Speaking further,he said: “I am elated that the agricultural initiative has attracted these important dignitaries in the Agriculture business world as well as a vast majority of our youths as beneficiaries of the scheme.“This project will reduce over-dependence on oil, create wealth, alleviate poverty, encourage productivity, create jobs and bring about the overall socio-economic uplift of Oyo State. “Farming is very profitable and we will do everything possible to make it attractive in Oyo State to diversify our economy.”
While welcoming the Governor and his entourage, the Caretaker Chairman of Iseyin Local Government, Alhaji Saheed Alaran said that agricultural has always proven to be a major aspect of the social and occupational lives of the people. He said, “This programme will benefit the state immensely through the provision of food and employment to our teeming youths through the synergy between the state and the local government administrations.”
The Chairperson of the State Agricultural Initiative Committee, Mrs. Tolu Shadipe, in her opening remarks praised the efforts of the state government in ensuring that the vision became a reality, a development she said would take agriculture back to its pride of place for the economic benefit of the people of the State.
In their separate remarks to commend The State Governor, The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi and the Aseyin of Iseyin, Oba Abdul-Ganiyu Adekunle Salawudeen, said the the Agriculture Initiative was unprecedented since the days of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.