By Olubunmi Osoteku, Ibadan
The Oyo State Government, has, on Tuesday sold the state to the world by holding an agribusiness summit where the governor, Seyi Makinde, disclosed that his administration would continue to re-engineer agribusiness development with a view to expanding the economy of the state.
Speaking at the Oyo State 2021 Agribusiness Summit, with the theme: ‘Grow Oyo, Invest in Agriculture’, held at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, the governor maintained that for agriculture to lift people from poverty to prosperity, it must not only be seen as a tool for rural development, but also, specifically, as a business.
While making a presentation titled: “Re-engineering Agribusiness Development in Oyo State”, Makinde enumerated the agribusiness investment potentials of Oyo State to the world, saying his administration was already in partnership with the government of France and IITA, among others to boost agribusiness in the state.
The governor stated that apart from the comparative advantage that the state has, in terms of the availability of about 28,500 square kilometers of arable land, there is abundant freshwater sources as well as 3,000 hectares of artificial lakes, which, he said, give the state a competitive advantage in fish farming, asserting that his administration has embarked on a massive infrastructure development that targets agriculture and agribusiness development.
He said the construction of the 65-kilometre Moniya-Iseyin arterial road, ongoing construction of Oyo-Iseyin Road, Apete-Awotan-Akufo Road, Saki-Ogbooro-Igboho Road, Sabo-Oroki-Asipa Road, Ajia-Airport Road with a spur to Amuloko, as well as the ongoing construction of four Bus Terminals in Ibadan, and the ongoing efforts to have the Ibadan Airport upgraded to international standard, are all parts of the government’s deliberate efforts to attract agribusiness investors.
Makinde noted that apart from the infrastructure projects, the government would also, from the first quarter of 2022, begin fixing over 1,200 kilometres of roads under the Rural Access and Agriculture Marketing Project (RAAMP), to improve the agro-logistics chain and provide access to local and international markets.
He said: “We developed the Oyo State roadmap to accelerated development 2019-2023 and we sold it to the people of Oyo State.
The understanding of that roadmap essentially informed our decision to make agriculture one of the main drivers of the Oyo State economy between 2019 and 2023.
The governor disclosed that his administration, on resumption, created the Oyo State Agribusiness Development Agency (OYSADA), to serve as the vehicle for driving agribusiness development, saying the agency has eliminated the administrative bottlenecks that prevent private investors from communicating directly with public office holders.
Makinde disclosed that a recent trip to France had culminated in efforts to have the French government turn Akufo Agribusiness Hub into a farmers’ market when it is completed, assuring investors of favourable taxation policy, as there would be no multiple taxation or tax increment in the foreseeable future and adequate security, as the Oyo State Security Network, codenamed Amotekun, which is working with the federal police to strengthen the security apparatus in rural areas would always be on the ground.
Earlier, the Director-General of the Oyo State Agribusiness Development Agency (OYSADA), Dr Debo Akande, said that the Makinde administration had set out an economic regeneration vision for Oyo State that is hinged on harnessing natural economic comparative advantage and underpinned by the development of agribusiness-enabling infrastructure and human capacity development.
In his speech at the summit, the President, African Development Bank, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, represented by Dr Martins Fregene, encouraged the state government to incorporate a competitive agribusiness, cluster stakeholder, build local capacity and climatic adaptation in its strategies
Also, the Director General of IITA, Dr Nteranya Sanginga, explained that unlike previous administrations, Governor Makinde had taken developing the state agribusiness seriously with a contribution of over 800 million naira to the sector through IITA, and implored the Governor to leave behind a lasting legacy.
In their various goodwill messages, the Australian High Commissioner to Nigeria, John Donnelly, the Ambassador of France to Nigeria, Emmanuelle Blackman and Managing Directors of some banks, commended the state government’s agribusiness drive, while harping on the need to focus on food security, poverty reduction and environmental degradation.
Oyo State Government holds Agribusiness Summit