Fayemi’s revolution in agriculture and the momentous harvest
By Olabode Adetoyi.
Let is begin with the past before coming to the present.
The Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi bought 30 tractors in his first term and distributed to various farmers Associations out of which only 3 are functioning. However, Mr Governor has constituted an Inter-ministerial Committee headed by Prof Bolaji Aluko with the responsibility to see to the repairs of remaining 27 together with other broken down tractors and other heavy equipment in preparation for the farming season.
Budgetary allocation to the Agriculture sector was increased from normal 2% to 7% this year. However there are many intervention programmes in aid of Agriculture and SME in Agroallied businesses that the present administration has activated. For the first time, Ekiti State Government activated the Agribusiness, Small Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS) through the training of over 2,500 Ekiti indigenes in Novemver, 2019. The scheme has disbursed single digit loans to many of the trainees and the programme is ongoing. Microfinance and Enterprise Development Agency is coordinating the training and empowerment schemes of the Central Bank of Nigeria and NIRSAL Microfinance Bank loan facilities.
The budgetary allocation to Agriculture is far above the 7% when other funds inform of counterpart contribution to different schemes in Agriculture are considered. For instance, the multi billion Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Programme (RAAMP) is currently providing rural access and transportation system that will facilitate the delivery of agricultural inputs and products. This first phase of the programme is constructing 580km prioritized and 25km pilots roads across the 16 LGAs of the State.
Mr Governor is doing a lot in Agribusiness through public private partnership which has attracted big commercial farmers to Ekiti with investments in the region of $200m.
More and more of our youths are beginning to show interest in commercial farming. Only recently 1000 youths enlisted for 5 star cassava project which will commence by the 1st week in May, 2021 in partnership with Cassava Growers Association of Nigeria.The Youth in Commercial Agricultural Development (YCAD) has been given 186 hectares of land at Erio Farm settlement which is being cleared free of charge courtesy of the Governor.
Also the Government multi million naira poultry processing plant at Erifun, Ado-Ekiti has also been concessioned to YCAD as part of effort to make Agribusiness attractive to the youths.
My office just hosted the training on Agribusiness for 502 Ekiti youths under EKITI LETS TALK AGRIBUSINESS on 9th February this year with the support of Mr Governor and expression of his concern for the development and empowerment of the youths across the State.
We are commencing Ekiti Rice Pyramid project with a flag off in May 2021 for 12,000 youths in Agribusiness and other farmers in partnership with Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria which included clearing of land for them, supply of farm inputs, fertilisers, Agrochemicals and off-takers will buy the paddy rice from them. This is a N15billion project brought by HE JKF to Ekiti State.
In conjunction with African Development Bank (AfDB), the Special Agric processing zone has been created with over 20,000 hectares of land cleared, many farmers have been allocated land there including member of All farmers Association of Nigeria (ALFAN).
Let me single out ArogBio a company owned by Dr. Temitope Aroge (a vibrant Ekiti youth in commercial agriculture) was allocated 1,000ha of land for planting and processing of cassava to industrial starch at his Ipao factory. Other processing companies attracted by the agriculture-friendly disposition of the present administration includes FMS Agro, Promasidor managed Ikun Diary Farms, Promise Point, Truvis Agro, Villam Omoluabi Farms and many other farmers who are investing in primary production, processing, value addition, storage and marketing from the zone to feed our Agro Cargo Airport for export that will bring massive revenues to Ekiti state.
Arrangement had been made to subsidise farm input to prospective farmers at our Fountain Agric Marketing Agency (FAMA) at Old Governor Office Oke Bareke, Ado Ekiti.
HE JKF has proved to be a rare Agric friendly Governor who has invested Billions to clear land for massive agribusiness which is indeed unprecedent.
We have a good and cordial relationship with the All farmers Associations of Nigeria in Ekiti State.
This list of Agribusiness programs is unending and it’s being packaged for dissemination soon.
Adetoyi isHon Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security,