By Michael Adesanya/Abeokuta
Ogun State Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Adeola Odedina, says the ministry is focusing more on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and mechanisation to drive its various agricultural programmes in the year 2021.
Odedina revealed this while fielding questions from newsmen on plans of the Ministry for the year 2021 in his office at Oke Mosan, Abeokuta.
He said the action was to stimulate the interest of the youths in Agriculture, saying that technology and competitiveness cannot be taken away from the modern-day Agriculture.
“There are two things you must put into consideration if you want people, especially the youths to embrace agriculture, these are ICT and Mechanisation. This, we have taken care of by ensuring that ICT was included in all our youths-based agricultural programmes. You can use ICT to monitor your farm, as well as mechanise every aspect of your production.
“Another thing you cannot take away from modern-day agriculture is technology and competitiveness, this underscores our linkage with all these variables, which helps in increasing productivity thus, giving the farmers edge in terms of a ready market for their produce among others”, Odedina said.
He disclosed that there are off-takers and ready market for agricultural produce in the State as modern-day agriculture is market-driven.
“About 80% of farmers in Ogun State grow maize and cassava and the four biggest buyers of cassava are based in Ogun State, so you won’t be wrong if you grow them. This is not to say that there is no market for other crops, we have ensured that our farmers don’t jump into production without an assured market, that is why we link them with lots of investment advice”, he added.
Odedina submitted that despite the challenges of the out-gone year, including the restrictions occasioned by Covid-19, the State government, without precedence, drove an agricultural system that empowered close to 15,000 people.
The Commissioner hinted that due to the success the Ministry recorded in its Anchor Borrowers Programme, Ogun Broiler Project among others in the year 2020, it would be expanding to other areas of Agricultural value-chain.
“We are going to be moving to other areas, we are going to expand our Anchor Borrowers Programme, Ogun Broiler Project and others. You will recall that because of success of the Ogun Broiler Project, the governor has graciously approved its replication in all the 20 Local Government Areas of the State”, the Commissioner said.
Odedina revealed that because of the success of the State’s Anchor Borrowers Programme on Cassava and Rice, the State is now the focus of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrowers Programme in cocoa, oil palm, cotton, aquaculture and cattle, noting it was highly encouraging that the strides were recorded in a COVID year.