Toluwalope Jombo

Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu on Thursday called for more dedication and commitment to agricultural development in the state and country at large.

Akeredolu gave the piece of advice in Akure during the flag off of 2020 planting season in Ondo at government house grounds, Alagbaka Akure.

He explained that Ondo state was still not self-sufficient in food production despite the significant increase in number of youths, women, and professionals that embraced agriculture in the last three years.

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According to him, “we have embarked on a number of measures and support programmes to mitigate the challenges that could hamper our food production chain this year, due to the ripple effects of Covid-19 pandemic.”

“These include distribution of 20 farm tractors with tillage implements to farmers at 30 per cent subsidy, additional implements that would enable tractors to do other auxiliary farm operations.”

“Bush clearing of 1,250 hectares in 15 locations across the State to open up more land for small holder farmers, large scale food production and commercial agriculture.”

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The governor said the state government has provided about N10 million loan for farmers.

“We have provided a loan at six percent interest rate, and distribution of improved maize seeds to farmers as an intervention to guarantee food security during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“Release of N9 million to Ondo State Commodity Association (OSACA) and N1.8 million to Ondo State Cooperative Federation Limited (OSCOFED) from Agricultural Development Fund as grant to support agricultural development in the state.”

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“State Government also accessed N2 billion Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme (CACS) loan for land clearing, youth development and other agricultural development projects,” he said.

Akeredolu said the state government has concluded arrangement to distribute N500,000 cocoa and 50,000 cashew seedlings to farmers to further boost cocoa and cashew production in the state for this year 2020 planting season.

Earlier, Mr Gbenga Obayewa, Chairman Ondo State Agricultural Commodity Association (OSACA), appealed to the government to quickly commence Amotekun security outfit, and the passage of the grazing regulatory bill in the state as a way to tackle the herdsmen/farmers challenge.