Agric business has been described as a veritable means of economic revival and sustenance that should be embraced by the government and the governed.
Nigerian former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo dropped this while inspecting a 9,000 hectares of rice demonstration farm, a partnership agric business embarked upon by Obasanjo Farms, the Federal Government and Ogun State Government at Eggua, Yewa-South Local Government Area.
Obasanjo who was accompanied by Olubara of Ibara, Oba Olufemi Omolade State Commissioner for Agriculture and Dr. Adeola Odedina noted that cassava and rice production which the State government has embarked upon were capable of reviving and improving the economy of any state.
Obasanjo appluded Prince Dapo Abiodun-led administration’s agric oriented initiatives and challenged Nigerian youths to venture into any aspect of agric value-chain, saying job and wealth creation opportunities abound in agric business.
“Agriculture should be taken as a serious business and Ogun State Government has started well by re-opening more avenues for production of rice together with Obasanjo Farms here in Eggua. There are lots of opportunities in it from land preparation, planting, harvesting, marketing, food processing, farm equipment, livestock feed, agro allied products, to industrialisation, agric is where we can create largest number of employment for the population”, he stated.
He identified Boko Haram menace, kidnapping, herdsmen invasion, militancy, banditry, COVID-19 pandemic coupled with poor economic condition as factors affecting agric business in Nigeria.
He therefore challenged Nigerians to face the challenges through commitment and determination, saying “it can be done and it should be done.”
The Olubara of Ibara, Oba Olufemi Omolade also appluded Government’s feat in agriculture, calling on private organisations to partner the state government towards food production and self sufficiency.
Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Adeola Odedina, said the 9,000 hectares rice demonstration farm was a starting point, revealing that rice could be grown in about 10 Local Governments in the state with existing four rice milling factories owned by the state.
He described Chief Obasanjo as one of the foremost successful farmers in Nigeria, which informed why the state government was partnering with him in rice production.
“We are happy to be here with one of the foremost successful farmers in Nigeria. Here, we are working with investors, youths and successful farmers because we are in the era of ‘grow what you eat and eat what you grow'”, he said.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Dotun Sorunke, challenged Nigerians at all levels to emulate Chief Obasanjo’s legacy on food production, saying “age is not a barrier to food production.”
Chief Obasanjo and his entourage later visited the Onigua of Eggua, Oba (Dr) Michael Adeleye Dosunmu, who expressed delight at the rice production in his domain.
Other dignitaries in the entourage are Ogun State former Head of Service, Engr Lanre Bisiriyu, the Project Manager, Value-Chain Development Programme, Mr Samuel Adeogun, among others.