Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi has assured the National Agricultural Land Development Agency, (NALDA) of effective collaboration to reposition agribusiness in the State through support for the Federal Government’s Back-To-Farm programme.
Dr Fayemi, who disclosed this on Wednesday, when he received a delegation of NALDA, led by its Executive Secretary, Prince Paul Ikonne, at the Governor’s Office, Ado-Ekiti, during the team’s working visit to the State said the main objective of his administration’s agribusiness development is to reposition the state as a major food processing center in the country.
He explained that his efforts towards making Ekiti the food basket of the country has led to the clearing about 5,000 Hectares of farm land for both commercial farmers and out-growers, encouraging the establishment of Rice Mills by three big rice producers as well as accelerating the involvement of all-seasons farming among others.
The Governor further revealed that the state currently has about three rice mills coming on stream by Stallion, Dangote and JMK foods, adding that all the initiatives would amount to nothing if there are no sufficient number of farmers to feed the mills by planting cassava and rice among other crops.
He assured the agency of his government support towards the success of the planned establishment of three integrated farm estates in the three senatorial zones of the State, adding that the state is ready to work with the agency through its various initiatives including Youth in Commercial Agriculture (YCAD).
He said the state would take advantage of its agriculture and education competency and develop wealth creating opportunities for the people hoping that a lot of the young people would get themselves involved in the laudable projects to reposition agriculture in the state and make Ekiti a food basket of the nation.
“On our part, we’ve taken a lot of steps since this government came into office, we must have cleared in the region of about 5000 Hectares of land for our various farmers in the state for both commercial and out growers.
“I am sure you know that a major challenge for farmers in this part of the country is land clearing and land management, so if you can tackle that, you are able to accelerate the involvement of not just dry season farming but all season farming, and we are doing a lot in that regard.”, he said.
Earlier, the Executive Secretary, NALDA, Prince Paul Ikonne, said he was in the state to carry out the mandate of the President to retrieve and reactivate the agency’s abandoned land, as well as take more land as donated by the various community aimed at ensuring availability of food in the country.
Ikonne also expressed the readiness of the agency to partner with the state government to resuscitate various Farms as it planned to start with the recovered 1200 hectares of farmland in Irele and Oke-Ako.
While commending Dr Fayemi for providing the enabling environment, the Executive Secretary said the agency has in the pipeline the establishment of integrated farms in the three Senatorial districts of the state to further ensure national food security.