The Akeredolu administration has reeled out its legacies in the agricultural sector in its first term in office.
They include the reviving of the moribund Ministry of Agriculture, with the breathing of new life into it.
Former Commissioner for Agriculture, Asiwaju Adegboyega Adefarati, while interacting with The Hope Newspaper in Akure, listed the landmarks to include the distribution of over 1.5m improved cocoa seedlings and 50,000 cashew seedlings to farmers at no cost.
Others, he listed as the, “Procurement of 1000mt of fertilizer for sale to farmers at subsidized prices, registration and regulation of farmers cultivating the grey areas of our forest reserves.”
According to him, farmers were being arrested and jailed for encroachment into the state forest reserves and this led to the introduction of what he called the Taungya system on lease agreement to nip their challenges in the bud.
Adefarati disclosed that two thousand (2,000) hectares of cocoa plantation was established at Ijugbere, Owo, in Owo LGA, as well as establishing demonstration plots within the premises of the Ministry for farmers to understudy the use of drip irrigation facilities to encourage all year farming.
The Ministry of Agriculture he noted, also constructed a section of the Central Mechanical Workshop at Ondo road in Akure for the agro-processing centre and reactivation of four tractors through Public Private Partnership.
In addition, the administration embarked on cassava plantation for industrial processing, facilitated the establishment of an animal feed production plant at Idanre, using ponds, retrieval and activation of Agip donated fish hatcheries at Okitipupa and Owo. These would be managed by private investors.
The Commissioner mentioned the procurement of 20 new tractors and farm implements for use at a highly subsidized rate while soft loans at 6 percent interest rate were distributed to the farmers.
Applauding the governor, Adefarati said the state never defaulted in payment of counterpart funds to FADAMA 111 and the LIFE-ND programmes, notably the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) grants of 2.5m USD for the development of oil palm and cocoa value chains.
“FGN/IFAD/LIFE-ND Project which is being implemented in one hundred (100) communities in ten (10) local government areas of the State for six years in the first phase to provide 4,250 employments to our people.
The programme is funded jointly by International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) to the tune of 10m USD,”
“Livestock Productivity and Resilience Support Project (L-PRES), World Bank Assisted Programme which is to be implemented in all the 18 local government areas of the State to enhance 5,000 farmers which is focused on three value chains of poultry, small ruminants and piggery to the tune of 10m USD for 12 States of which Ondo State is valuably considered.”
Adefarati identified World Bank Assisted Agro-processing Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support Project (APPEALS) , for which the state is expected to be enlisted to participate in the programme this year 2021 as the scooping exercise is concluded.
This, he noted , would focus on three value chains of cassava, cocoa and Aquaculture.