Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun says the state has the capacity to grow enough rice to feed the entire South-West region of the country.
This was the submission of rice farming and livestock expert and Managing Director of Savanna Seeds and Livestock Limited, Mr. Olafare Richard, at a farmers’ meeting at Onilapa Farm in Ola-Oluwa Local Government Area in Osun.
This was just as the Chairman of Committee on Resolution of Crisis Between Farmers and Herdsmen, Hon Mudathir Toogun, said his committee has handled and settled over 5,000 cases involving farmers and Fulani cattle rearers across the state in the last three years.
Olafare said with the available resources, the necessary equipment, the most yielding and quality seedling and the enabling environment, Osun can produce rice need of the whole South-West.
He revealed that Osun State has about 60 percent of the most productive rice seedlings that can be found in the whole country, lamenting that the best of the opportunities of this seed have not been realised.
Olafare therefore canvassed for a complete value-chain to improve rice production, saying with the growing trend of rice production in Osun, the state is capable to take of the rice of the geo-political zone.
He called on the government to further support rice farmers so as to improve their productivity.
“We need effective rice management in the state. At present, we have resource farmers. Our farmers need to be supported and once this is done, Osun can boast of mass rice production.
“We also need the support of the government to build the capacity of farmers because with government support, we are going to produce Osun rice,” Olafare said.
Toogun said after the Boko Haram insurgency, the next most volatile crisis in the country is the constant break in relationship between farmers and Hausa-Fulani herdsmen in all regions of the nation.
He commended the governor for sitting up a committee to interface with these two principal actors, making Osun the safest place in terms of security.
He stated that the foresight of the governor in setting of the committee prior to the outbreak of the farmer-herdsmen crisis in the state helped in no small measure to combat the crisis and ensure that both farmers and herdsmen live harmoniously and resolve any crisis that arises as quickly as possible.
“We are able to be on top of the situation in the state because of the pro-activeness of government in providing a platform for all actors to meet and dialogue among themselves.
“This has helped us a great deal and with this intercession, we have settled not less than 5,000 cases between 2014 and now.
“This is why Osun State is the most peaceful today when you think of farmers-herdsmen crises ravaging the country,” Togun said.
In his remarks, the Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola called for mass participation in agriculture as the only way to rescue the nation from her present socio-economic challenges.
He said the economic situation in the country has called for the need to improve on the nation’s agricultural capacity, saying all hands must be on deck to promote farming.
Lamenting on the state of the nation’s economy, Governor Aregbesola said it has become imperative for all to do the needful in promoting agriculture.
Aregbesola said his government was ready to support and collaborate with any individual or group that shows interest in farming.
According to him, with the present economic reality, it has become imperative to produce what we consume because failure to do so, we will remain dependent.
“Any nation that cannot feed itself will continue to be enslaved. It is time to embrace agriculture and take our minds from the money coming from the crude oil as the commodity can no longer sustain our economy”, he added.
Expressing the readiness of his administration towards the realisation of an improved farming practices in the state, Governor Aregbesola said efforts continue to be geared up in meeting the state objectives on agriculture sector.
He called on the rice farmers to double efforts at increasing their productivity, saying “Osun has the capacity to produce 20 tones of rice per hectare”.
Governor Aregbesola therefore called on the residents in the state to support his government with prompt tax payment.