Osun Com­mences All-year-round Farm­ing Through So­lar-pow­ered Ir­ri­ga­tion

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - BUSINESS AGRO -

AS part of ef­forts to di­ver­sify its econ­omy through agri­cul­ture, Osun State gov­ern­ment has em­barked on all-year-round farm­ing through mas­sive ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tem.

The ini­tia­tive was aimed at ful­fill­ing one of the six-point in­te­gral ac­tion plans of the cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion, which is to ban­ish hunger through mas­sive agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion.

The farms with 40 acres of land ca­pac­ity each across 24 Lo­cal Coun­cils are be­ing cul­ti­vated to en­cour­age agri­cul­ture rev­o­lu­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to gov­ern­ment of Osun, the new farm­ing sys­tem, an ini­tia­tive of the vol­un­teers of the Osun Youth Em­pow­er­ment Scheme (OYES), en­com­passes so­lar­pow­ered ir­ri­ga­tion to en­cour­age all round farm­ing across the sea­sons.

While in­spect­ing one of the 40 acres of the al­ready cul­ti­vated farm land at Ilesa, dur­ing the first har­vest of the hy­brid cu­cum­ber cul­ti­vated by the OYES cadets, Aregbesola said the de­ci­sion is to make the state self-sus­tain­ing and self-suf­fi­cient in food pro­duc­tion, as well as make Osun the food bas­ket of west­ern Nige­ria.

He said the ini­tia­tive aims at fight­ing ir­reg­u­lar farm­ing by en­cour­ag­ing mod­ern agri­cul­ture prac­tices through ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tem.

“With this gi­ant stride in agri­cul­ture, it is not a doubt that Osun can boast of all round cul­ti­va­tion of ma­jor com­modi­ties like sweet pota­toes, cu­cum­bers, and ex­otic veg­eta­bles. As we have this farm in Ilesa, we also have sim­i­lar ones in 24 coun­cils across the state. This is aimed at ful­fill­ing our com­mit­ment at ban­ish­ing hunger, poverty and un­em­ploy­ment, as the scheme wouldn’t only en­cour­age ir­ri­ga­tion-farm­ing sys­tem, but also build con­fi­dence in the youths to­wards agri­cul­ture.

“As we all know, food and shel­ter are too es­sen­tial for the sur­vival of hu­man­ity and no se­ri­ous gov­ern­ment will triv­i­al­ize the need to en­cour­age agri­cul­ture, par­tic­u­larly at a time when the value of crude oil is pro­gres­sively sliding into zero. It has been brought into pub­lic knowl­edge that in the next 20 years, it will be prac­ti­cally im­pos­si­ble to im­port food, not be­cause there won’t be money to do so, but there won’t be food to im­port. So, to pre­vent this un­fore­seen cir­cum­stan­tial un­cer­tainty, then it is time to go into mas­sive food pro­duc­tion ca­pa­ble of mak­ing us self-suf­fi­cient, and as well en­cour­ag­ing sur­plus for ex­port, as we have it now,” he said.

Ear­lier in his re­marks, the OYES Com­man­dant, Colonel Eni’ibukun Oye­wole (rtd), com­mended Aregbesola for be­ing ag­gres­sive at re­vamp- ing the agri­cul­ture sec­tor in the state.

Oye­wole said gov­ern­ment has democra­tised gover­nance as ev­i­dent in the suc­cess recorded through se­ries of his life-chang­ing schemes, in which OYES is piv­otal.

In their sep­a­rate re­marks, the Com­mis­sioner for Em­pow­er­ment and Youth En­gage­ment, Mrs Fo­lake Adeg­boyega, Chair­man OYES Man­age­ment Com­mit­tee, Bar­ris­ter Femi Fatur­oti, and the Dean, Fac­ulty of Agri­cul­ture, Obafemi Awolowo Univer­sity, Pro­fes­sor Oyedele Durodoluwa, com­mended Aregbesola for tak­ing the lead among his peers in the sec­tor.

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