As part of efforts to diversify her economy through agriculture and turn the state to the food basket of the West, the Osun State Government has embarked on all-year-round farming through massive irrigation system.
The initiative is aimed at fulfilling one of the six-point integral action plan of Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s administration which is to banish hunger through massive agricultural production. The new farming system, an initiative of the volunteers of the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES), was said to have encompassed solar-powered irrigation to encourage all round farming across the seasons.
While inspecting one of the 40 acres of the already cultivated farm land at Ilesa, during the first harvest of the hybrid cucumber cultivated by the OYES cadets, the Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola said the decision was to make the state to be self-sustaining and self-sufficient in food production and as well make Osun the food basket of Western Nigeria.
He said the initiative was aimed at fighting the scourge of irregular farming by encouraging modern agriculture practices through irrigation system.
According to Governor Aregbesola, agriculture is where the future lies, thus it is high time for all to engage in massive agriculture production as panacea to hunger.
Governor Aregbesola who expressed delight over the seriousness being put in place by the OYES cadets said the state has turned a new leaf in agriculture practices.
He added, “I am very impressed with this high level of seriousness being put in place by our OYES volunteers. It shows that our state is not only committed to infrastructure, but also human development.
“With this giant stride in agriculture, it is not a doubt that Osun can boast of all round cultivation of major commodities like sweet potatoes, cucumbers, and exotic vegetables.
“As we have this farm in Ilesa, we also have similar ones in 24 Local governments across the state. This is aimed at fulfilling our commitment at banishing hunger, poverty and unemployment, as the scheme wouldn’t only encourage irrigation farming system but also build confidence in the youths towards agriculture.
“As we all know, food and shelter are too essential for the survival of humanity and no serious government will trivialize the need to encourage agriculture, particularly at a time when the value of crude oil is progressively sliding into zero.
“It has been brought into public knowledge that in the next 20 years, it will be practically impossible to import food, not because there won’t be money to do so, but there won’t be food to import.
“So, to prevent this unforeseen circumstantial uncertainty, then it is time to go into massive food production capable of making us self-sufficient and as well encouraging surplus for export. “We must do whatever we can sustain ourselves in food production because a time is coming when a nation like Nigeria will be left with no other option than agriculture.
“Our major economic product, crude oil, will soon become unpopular as it is evident that in the next 25 years, there will no longer be a serious automobile company that will be producing petroleum-powered vehicles.
“The major buyers of Nigeria’s crude oil have declared that by 2030, petroleum-powered automobiles will no longer be produced and what this implies is that, petroleum will become an ordinary commodity, and not a money making commodity as we have it now.
“If this is the case, then we must all go back to farm and see the need to feed ourselves as a nation and produce agriculture produce in surplus for export”, Aregbesola stressed.
While lauding the commitment of the OYES cadets at complementing his administration’s efforts to revamp agriculture, Governor Aregbesola said it is time for the youths to demonstrate the passion for farming, instead of chasing non-existent white collar jobs.