By : Dayo Fasasi,
The Alaafin of Oyo, His Royal Majesty, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi and the new Olubadan Oba, His Royal Majesty, Oba Saliu Adetunji, met formally on Monday with the Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, in attendance.
The two powerful Yoruba monarchs met at the Oyo State Agricultural Stakeholders’ Forum at the historical House of Chiefs at the Oyo State Secretariat, in Ibadan. Governor Ajimobi, while speaking at the Forum, introduced the ‘Renewed Focus’ on agriculture.
The governor said that the initiative become expedient in view of the dwindling crude oil price at the global market and the attendant reduced Federal Government allocation to states. He added that the focus is to ensure that Oyo State becomes the food basket of the nation.
In his statement, Ajimobi says: “Oyo State should be the food basket of the nation rather than just a passage to convey as well smuggle goods to other parts of the country. The initiative will be all-inclusive and sustainable. Students, youths, unemployed, women, institutions, small farmers, market women, traders association will all participate. And we will ensure we cover all the value chain starting from land clearance to cultivation, harvesting, transportation, storage, marketing, distribution and consumption.
“It will be all-inclusive in terms of human beings and activities and we believe that Oyo State is best positioned in the entire South to become the food basket of the region, Nigeria and West Africa. Oyo State has the most arable land. We have over 28,545 kilometers square of land. Oyo State also has highest concentration of agricultural research institutes in Nigeria. We are the largest producer of cassava in Nigeria. So, there is no reason both in terms of location and arability not to produce and become the food basket of the nation.”
Meanwhile the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji, urged all Oyo State residents to embrace agriculture and use available land for farming. Adetunji, also implored the residents to pay their taxes.The Alaafin of Oyo Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III, lauded the state government’s initiative to focus on agriculture as the way to resolve the current economic situation.
Other Monarchs present at the Forum includes: Onpetu of Ijero; Oba Sunday Oladapo, Akinbio of Ilora; Oba Stephen Oyeniyi, and Soun Ogbomoso, represented by Alhaji Samuel Sobaloju. .The traditional rulers in one voice prayed for the State and reaffirmed their support for the State Government’s agricultural agenda.