By Joy Akinsanya
Abeokuta, Jan. 5, 2021 The Ogun Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Adeola Odedina, on Tuesday, said that the ministry would focus more on information and communication technology (ICT) and mechanisation in 2021 to drive its various agricultural programmes.
Odedina stated this while speaking with newsmen on his ministry’s plan for 2021, at Oke Mosan, Abeokuta.
“There are two things you must put into consideration if you want people, especially the youth, to embrace agriculture. These are: ICT and mechanisation.
“These we have taken care of by ensuring that ICT was included in all our youth-based agricultural programmes.
“You can use ICT to monitor your farm, while you can also 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 help in increasing productivity, thus giving farmers the edge in terms of ready market for their produce, among others”, Odedina said.
According to him, there are off-takers and ready market for agricultural produce in the state, as modern-day agriculture is market-driven.
“About 80 percent of farmers in Ogun grow maize and cassava, and the four biggest buyers of cassava are based in the state. So you are very much in order if you grow them.
“This is not to say that there is no market for other crops, as we have ensured that our farmers don’t jump into production without an assured market. That is why we usually link them with lots of investment advice,” Odedina added.
He noted that despite the challenges of 2020, including the restrictions, occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, the state government, without precedence, drove an agricultural system that had empowered about 15,000 people.
The commissioner said that due to the success the ministry recorded in its Anchor Borrowers’ Programme and Ogun Broiler Project last year, it would be expanding to other areas of agricultural value-chain.
“We are going to be moving to other areas; we are also going to expand our Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, the broiler project and others.
“You will recall that because of the success of the broiler project, the governor has graciously approved its replication in all the 20 local government areas of the state”, he said.
According to the commissioner, the state is now the focus of Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme in cocoa, palm oil, cotton, aquaculture and cattle owing to the success earlier recorded.
He noted that it was highly encouraging that the strides were recorded in a COVID year, in spite of the challenges.
By Joy Akinsanya