In view of dwindling economic fortune of the nation arising from the Covid-19 pandemic ravaging the world, Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has restated his administration’s resolve to use the agriculture sector as a platform for the diversification of the state’s economy.
According to a report by the VANGUARD, the Governor also expressed the need for the state to convert its knowledge capacity to agricultural technology and achieve higher productivity and yield as well as a reduction in post-harvest losses which the state has suffered for years.
Dr Fayemi made this disclosure during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the state government and a Dutch Agric investment Group, Villam Agric Ltd in Ado-Ekiti. The group is committing N3.5 billion into the project.
Governor Fayemi explained that Ekiti used to be the Cocoa capital of Nigeria and hoped that with the various interventions from both local and international agricultural concerns, the state would soon bounce back to its original position in the sector.
He added that his administration was partnering a number of other institutions like Dangote Group, Promasidor, Stallion Group and a few others to help reposition the sector to improve food production in the state. He assured the investors that all the resources they require for their activities in the state such as land, water and human capital are readily available for them to deliver on their plans and programmes.
According to the governor, “For us, it’s time to convert our knowledge capacity to agric technology, higher productivity and yield and reduction in post-harvest losses that we have suffered for years. And this is the time to do it as Nigeria confronts the challenges of the implications of Covid-19 on our oil where the price of our oil is going down.
Earlier, the Managing Director of Villam Agric Ltd, Rene Haveman stressed the importance of providing food to the people especially during a crisis like the one the world is facing now. He added that a large storage facility like it is available in the state should not be left idle again but should be made to benefit both the investor and the state.
Haveman urged farmers in the state to increase their production during this planting season as he plans to ensure market conformity prices as his organization plans to buy directly from farmers at attractive prices.
He said further that his organization would upgrade the silos and by November set up a maize processing plant in the state.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Folorunso Olabode commended Villam Agric Ltd for its efforts at partnering with the state to help reposition agriculture by planning to inject N3.5billion into the sector.