/Ekiti to diversify economy through Agric sector
Ekiti to diversify economy through Agric sector

Ekiti to diversify economy through Agric sector

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Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has restated his administration’s resolve to use the agric sector as a platform for the diversification of the state’s economy, in view of the hard times that may arise as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic ravaging the world.

The governor also stressed the need for the state to convert its knowledge capacity to agricultural technology and achieve higher productivity and yield as well as reduction in post-harvest losses which the state had suffered for years.

Fayemi made this known on Tuesday during the signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the state government and a Dutch Agric investment Group, Villam Agric Ltd in Ado-Ekiti.

The group is committing N3.5 billion into the project.

Governor Fayemi explained that Ekiti used to be the Cocoa capital of Nigeria and hoped that with the various interventions from both local and international agricultural concerns, the state would soon bounce back to its original position in the sector.

He added that his administration was partnering a number of other institutions like Dangote Group, Promasidor, Stallion Group and a few others to help reposition the sector to improve food production in the state.

He assured the investors that all the resources they required for their activities in the state such as land, water and human capital were readily available for them to deliver on their plans and programmes.

According to the governor, “For us, it’s time to convert our knowledge capacity to agric technology, higher productivity and yield and reduction in post-harvest losses that we have suffered for years. And this is the time to do it as Nigeria confronts the challenges of the implications of Covid-19 on our oil where the price of our oil is going down .

“And when that price is going down, yes, you are the owners of Shell but you are also the agric capital of the world, so you have an alternative, when oil goes down, your agriculture fix in because that is almost on a permanent basis. So we have that to learn from you, and that is why entering into this partnership is a demonstration of where we want to be and the leadership that we want to offer in the sector.”

Earlier, the Managing Director of Villam Agric Ltd, Rene Haveman, stressed the importance of providing food to the people especially during crisis like the one the world is facing now.

He added that large storage facility available in the state should not be left idle again but should be made to benefit both the investor and the state.

Haveman urged farmers in the state to increase their production during this planting season as he said he planned to ensure market conformity prices as his organisation planned to buy directly from farmers at attractive prices.

He said further that his organisation would upgrade the silos and by November set up a maize processing plant in the state.

Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Folorunso Olabode, commended Villam Agric Limited for its efforts at partnering with the state to help reposition agriculture by planning to inject N3.5 billion into the sector.