With less than 24hours to the Oyo state government agriculture investment summit in Ibadan, gubernatorial candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Engr. Seyi Makinde has described the state government policy on agriculture as “a ruse which can not guarantee the state self sufficiency in food and cash crops production.”
Makinde gave this verdict while hosting party members from across the state who came to congratulate him on his election as the party’s flagbearer.
In a statement issued by his campaign organisation and signed by Prince Dotun Oyelade, the PDP candidate condemned as wasteful, the Agricultural Summit organised by the state government which kicks off in Ibadan tomorrow (Thursday) and described it as an irrelevant extravaganza.
The idea of the summit, Makinde said, was borne out of lack of political will and creativity because similar talk shops have taken place at Iseyin, Ibadan and Awe which were heralded with fanfare in the past six years with nothing to show for it.
During past Summit, government promised to provide three million jobs through what it called Youth Empowerment in Agric Programme (YEAP) and enhance the status of Oke Ogun as the food basket of Oyo State.
Makinde said none of these promises came to reality with the roads in Oke Ogun getting worse and the area suffering neglect like never before. He said it is quite worrisome that the seven years of APC in the state failed to develop agriculture sector which should be the mainstay of the state Economy.
Instead of spending millions of naira and collecting more from corporate Sponsors which will end up in private pockets, government should have assisted farmers through accessible, payable interest credit facilities and give technical support for production and warehousing.
He said when elected as governor, his administration will give heavy financial backing for Agro processing targeting the youths and build processing clusters in the three senatorial districts in the state and resuscitate moribund extension services.
Meanwhile, the State Government will between Thursday and Friday October 11 and 12, 2018 hold an agriculture investment summit with the theme: “Transforming Oyo State’s Agriculture and Agro –Allied Industry: Private Sector Participation”.
The venue of the maiden agriculture summit, which has over 10 Keynotes Speakers/Panelists, 35 exhibitors, 300 delegates and over 2000 visitors, is the Conference Centre, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Oyo Road, Ibadan.
The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development, Prince Oyewole Oyewumi said that the state’s Agriculture summit became imperative in order to bridge the gap among farmers, Agric. Producers, Agro-allied industries, research institutes, government, agricultural banks and private companies.
He explained that Oyo State Agriculture Investment Summit (OYSAIS) is a collaboration between the Oyo State Government and International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).
Prince Oyewumi stated that Oyo State Agriculture Investment Summit (OYSAIS) is aimed to trigger the industrial age of Oyo State Agric-businesses and agro-allied sector, explaining that the summit will complement the efforts of the state government in its AgricOyo programme, the agricultural land policy and other agriculture programmes to position the state as the food basket of the country.
The Commissioner said that OYSAIS is designed to attract Private Sector Finance and Investment Companies, Infrastructure Expert Fund Managers, International Development Banks, potential agriculture investors, Agro-Allied industry and all stakeholders in the agriculture business in the state in order to usher in fresh approach to agriculture in Oyo State.
He said that the summit, which is supported by Private Equity Firms, Commercial Banks, Leading Agricbusiness Companies, Investment and Finance Companies, International Aid Organisations, Insurers and Government Agencies, will also seek to address key agricultural productivity like finance, market access, research, infrastructure, mechanization, ICT, youth, gender and policies.
Prince Oyewumi disclosed that the keynote speakers include Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, Chairman of BAT Foundation, Chief Kola Jamodu, the MD/CEO of Sterling Bank Mr. Abubakar Suleiman, Director, AFDB, Mr. Ebrima Faai, the MD, Bank of Industry, Mr. Kayode Pitan, Group Vice President of Dangote Industries Limited, Mr. Sani Dangote, the MD, Flour Mills of Nigeria, Mr. Paul Gbadebo and Deputy Director IITA, Dr. Kenton Dashiell.
The commissioner said that the summit is free for exhibitors of agricultural produce, adding that Folashade Joseph of NAIC, Ayodeji Balogu of AFEX, Venkataramani S. of Olam Nigeria, Mr. Bolaji Akinboro of Cellulant also serve as keynote speakers.