The Ogun state government’s efforts to boost agricultural production in the State prompted the acquisition of 22 bulldozers to aid land clearing to boost rice, cassava and poultry production.
he State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mrs. Peju Adebajo, who made this known on Wednesday at a validation workshop on agricultural value chain for farmers in Abeokuta, said that the bulldozers were purchased due to challenges of bush clearing faced by farmers in the southwest region of the country.
The workshop was organized by the Nigeria Incentives-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL).
She said to ensure that the state produces more rice; the government had established a rice mill in Ogun West and Central Senatorial districts of the state, adding that the third mill would be established in Ijebu North East Local Government area of the state this year.
The Commissioner urged farmers in the state to register as groups, stressing that the ministry could only reach the farmers if their farm locations and sizes were known.
Adebajo explained that the state had identified certain agricultural value chain that had to do with production, processing, marketing and logistics.
She noted that the value chain would be favourable to the state because it had comparative advantage in rice, cassava and poultry production.
According to her, since Ogun State is one of the largest rice producing state in the South West region of the country, the state government would continue to produce more rice that will further lead to drop in rice importation.
She said that the state government was pleased with the activities of NIRSAL due to its partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria to ensure single digit interest rate loans to farmers.
Mr. Segun Ashiwaju, Head of NIRSAL in Ogun, said the workshop would avail the farmers the opportunity to learn more about the application of the agricultural value chain and its benefits.
He stated that the agricultural sector was central to Nigeria’s economy, accounting for 40 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and providing over 60 per cent employment.
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,” he said.