‘Ondo must explore agricultural potentials to survive’

The Ondo State Government has been urged to take proactive steps in tapping into the agricultural potentials of the state and expose farmers in the state to international markets, as the only fool-proof means for the state to survive the looming economic crisis.

A frontline gubernatorial aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, Chief Bukola Adetula, made the call on Thursday while speaking at a virtual meeting with a team of captains of industries and investors who are assessing the economic potentials of Ondo State.

The investors comprising of consultants and businessmen in the agro-allied industry are set to engage their full technological throttle in driving the economy of Ondo State to enviable heights through the agricultural sector with a focus on food crops, cash crops and animal production for local consumption, industrialisation and export.

Adetula cited the positive impacts of the intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government in the agricultural sector of Nigeria’s economy especially through the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) powered by the Central Bank of Nigeria which he said is fast diverting the country’s economy from over-dependence on crude oil to maximising her agricultural possibilities.

He emphasised that before this period, it would not take anyone more than four days to export agricultural products outside Nigeria, adding that since farmers were given access to ABP loans and encouraged to expand their operations, the situation is fast changing as “at the moment, there are long queues of containers of agricultural products waiting to be exported abroad which will, in turn, serve as a boost to our foreign earnings.”

He made emphatic reference to the rice revolution occasioned by the Anchor Borrowers Programme of the Federal Government, reiterating that, “look at rice for instance, if not for the fact that President Buhari had encouraged the planting of rice by our local farmers here through the ABP about four years ago, by now a bag of rice may be selling for about a hundred thousand naira per bag, more so that the borders are shut. But now, we enjoy our local rice as processing plants with modern equipment are springing up in the country.

“Who reckoned with the global pandemic that has necessitated the shutting of borders across board? It is cheering, however, that the planting of our local rice has led to the establishment of processing plants with modern equipment. A visionary leader identifies potentials, envisages challenges and leverages on alternatives for economic advancement. Farmers in Ondo State too are capable if given the enabling environment to build and exercise their capacities and expand their operations,” he said.

According to him, agricultural products are in high demand in the international market and should be prioritized for economic growth by Ondo State because of the viability of the state’s agricultural products in the international market.

He explained further that his meeting earlier with a cross-section of farmers in Akoko area of the state revealed the many limitations that farmers in the state live with; little access to important products like fertiliser, pesticides and financial wherewithal that ought to boost their productivity which he added has caused a decline in the quality and quantity of farmers’ outputs.

Adetula said synergy with foreign investors shall oil and propel Ondo State’s wheel of fortune, which hitherto, has remained static, reiterating that he has what it takes to turn things around by leveraging on the agricultural potentials of the state as all the state needs is a visionary leader with a passion to maximize the state’s agricultural potentials by availing farmers the best technological infrastructures for upscale production.

 

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