Oyo State governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi on Thursday reiterated the importance of agriculture in nation building, saying it has the capability to ensure that there is food security and provide jobs.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the first Oyo State Agriculture Summit and Exhibition with the theme: “Transforming Oyo State’s Agriculture and Agro-allied Industry: Private Sector Participation”, held at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, the governor said the theme was apt at a time that the country was looking for a permanent solution to the problem of food insecurity, unemployment and retard in rural development as well as absolute technology in the country.
Harping on past national attempts to put agriculture on the front burner such as Operations Feed the Nation and Green Revolution geared towards emphasising what used to be mainstay of the economy, the governor said the efforts give credence government unflinching commitment and determination to further agricultural development including the exploitation of the value addition in the agricultural chain.
“We all know that agriculture is the only key sector that can provide food, employment for the youth, women and others. It should also stem the tide of rural-urban population drift.
“It is also the major supplier of agro raw materials for industrial development,” the governor said.
He noted that the discovery of oil led to a drastic fall in agricultural production and earnings making Nigeria, which hitherto was an exporter of agriculture produce to become an importer of agricultural products especially food items such as rice, wheat and fish among others.
Ajimobi said the state government was focused on agriculture development in the state.
The governor who noted that the state parades a lot of research institutions, he said the first attempt to synergise with the leading agro-based research institute in tropical Africa, IITA which government expects tremendous and realistic support and outcome.
“It must therefore be noted that once we succeed particularly by ensuring a demand driven solution, we would have consolidated our mission,” he said.
According to him, the summit became imperative in order to bridge the gap among farmers, processors, agro-allied industries, government, agricultural/commercial banks and other stakeholders.
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