No fewer than 40,000 farmers across Ogun State will benefit from various agricultural intervention programmes of Ogun State Economic Transformation Project (OGSTEP), a World Bank-Assisted programme aimed at increasing private sector participation in boosting the State’s economy.
Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Adeola Odedina dropped the hint during a farmiliarisation and validation exercise at Sode, Obafe and Ayerose in Obafemi Owode Local Government Area, where two-kilogram bags of maize seeds, cassava stems, cocoa and cashew seedlings, among others were distributed free to farmers.
Dr. Odedina, who expressed delight at the communities’ readiness for the programme, said the State government is giving free planting materials to farmers, which informed the ongoing sensitisation programmes in different communities of the State.
According to him, the OGSTEP intervention programme would include provision of farm infrastructure, such as road network, water and electricity supplies that would link farmers to industrial process to create jobs.
“We are running one of the biggest donor programmes in agriculture under OGSTEP. We have been going around the communities to sensitize and link them to planting materials, roads, water supply and electricity for easy haulage of their farm produce to the market. We are happy with the response of the community.
The Governor has mandated that it should be a continuous process for small holders’ farmers, so that we can link them up to market and industrial process and thereby create job and provide prosperity”, he said.
Also speaking, the Acting Programme Manager, OGSTEP, Dr. Oluseyi Olugbire explained that the programme was meant to enhance ease of doing business to attract investors, strengthening agricultural value-chains, rural infrastructure, private sector participation and technical assistance towards increased livelihood.
She added that the programme also focuses on way of evolving easy access to land for farming and industrial purposes, as well as farmers’ linkage to market and off-takers, pointing out that each beneficiary would be required to provide a hectare of land for farming, while the government provides inputs and other technical assistance.
Speaking on behalf of farmers in the community, the Olori-Oko of Sode village, Chief Adesegun Shorinmade expressed joy at the intervention, appreciating the State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun for the gesture.
Also speaking on behalf of his subjects, the Olu of Obafemi town, Oba Taofeek Owolabi, commended the State Government for helping farmers and bringing infrastructure to his domain, assuring of continuous communal harmony between them and non-indigenes.