By Idowu Abdullahi,
The Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, has called on government at all levels in the country to collaborate in ensuring food security, saying such milestone will guarantee national security.
He explained that being self-reliant in terms of food production and other job opportunities to be created by a vibrant agricultural sector will take youths off the streets, a development, he said, will reduce insecurities in the country.
The Governor said the coronavirus breakout in the country had presented the opportunity for Nigeria country to take the issue of diversification seriously as the agricultural sector remains the right path to ease the country’s oil revenue dependency
Abiodun, while speaking during the flag-off of the 2020 Planting Season and Distribution of Inputs to the first batch of Cassava Value Chain Beneficiaries under the Anchor Borrowers Programme at the Farmers Market, Asero, Abeokuta, said the pandemic must serve as a wake up call for Nigeria to develop its agriculture sector and guarantee food security and that of jobs.
“The fact that almost all the nations of the world have closed their borders has brought to fore the importance of the ‘grow what we eat’ agenda. We see the importance of self-reliance in food production.
“I am sure we are all now aware of the importance of and relationship between not only food production and security, but also the overall security of the nation in general and our dear State in particular,” he said.
Furthermore, the Governor noted that his administration had put up measures to ensure that agricultural activities continue unhindered despite the coronavirus induced restrictions by allowing and providing support for food production, adding that as part of the State COVID-19-induced food challenge, it has modified the road-plan for agriculture for 2020 by including residential training of additional 5,000 youths in all the LGAs.
He said that the Anchor Borrowers Programme has recorded a total 60,000 registrations in the state, thus indicating the ability to use agriculture and cassava crop as a means of providing jobs for the youth.
“3,500 Anchor Borrower Programme nominees in the State have been provided with funds and link with agricultural inputs and fields ready for tilling and planting.
“60,000 registrations have been recorded for seven crops and cassava recorded 25,000 applications. 2,497 farmers were credited with N500m in March 2020, by the CBN, while an additional payment of over N180m was credited to an additional 900 farmers in April, 2020,” the Governor said.