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Ogun Govt. Begins Deliberate Agricultural Strategy to Boost Rice Production
The Ogun state government said it has embarked on deliberate agricultural strategy as parts of efforts to boost it’s rice production.
Mrs Peju Adebajo, the State Commissioner for Agriculture said this in Abeokuta on Wednesday, during a validation workshop on agricultural value chain operators financing and capacity need assessment in Ogun.
The programme was organised by the Nigeria Incentives – Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL).
Adebajo explained that the state had embarked on the agricultural strategy by identifying certain value chain that had to do with production, processing, marketing and logistics.
The commissioner noted that the state government had identified certain value chain it had comparative advantage which included Rice, Cassava and Poultry.
“The state has taking deliberate approach to know those value chains. The role of the ministry is to identify those challenges and make sure that we put in place a right enabling environment.
“Some of the challenges we have identified included land clearing which is a peculiar issue for farmers in the southwest.
“The state has procured a number of equipments last year, 22 bulldozers to be precise to aid in the land clearing issue and we intend to make the bulldozers available to farmers.
” The Federal ministry of Agriculture had recently released some statistics that about 80 per cent drop in the amount of rice imported, Ogun state is the largest rice producing state in the southwest of the country.
” If the import can drop by 80 per cent in one year due to the policies of the Federal ministry of Agriculture, There is no way we can not grow more rice in Ogun state.
“We have two rice Mills in the state in Ogun West and Central and the third will be established in Ijebu North East local government this year, ” she said.
The commissioner added that it was important to embark on farmers registration exercise, saying that the ministry could only reach the farmers if it knows the farms location and its size.
She said that the state government was pleased with the activities of Nersal since they came to the state.
She said that Nersal was one of the partners of the central bank of Nigeria in ensuring that single digit interest rate financing was available to farmers.
The commissioner said the validation workshop would go a long way in ensuring that farmers had more productive knowledge in Agriculture.
In his submission, Head of Nersal in Ogun, Mr Segun Ashiwaju, said that the workshop would availed the farmers the opportunity to learn more about the application of the Agricultural Value Chains and its benefits.
He stated that the agricultural sector was central to Nigeria’s economy, accounting for 40 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and providing over 60 percent of employment.
He added that the sector represented only 1 per cent of exports.
He explained that the goal of NIRSAL was to trigger an agricultural industrialisation process through increased production and processing of the greater part of what was produced to boost economic earnings across the value chain.
He listed Risk-Sharing facility, Insurance Facility, Technical Assistance Facility, Agribusiness Rating Mechanism and Bank incentive Mechanism as five pillars NIRSAL used in de-risking agriculture in Nigeria.
“We are optimistic that the outcome of this workshop will place agriculture in the right step towards ensuring we all embrace commercial agriculture as well as provide solutions to attain food security, job creation, and youth empowerment.