Agriculture in Oyo State has the power to drive stability in food security, environmental sustainability, employment opportunities, additional source of income and industrial revolution.
Prior to the discovery of crude oil in 1956, the mainstay of Oyo State’s economy like many other States in Nigeria was agriculture.
Nigeria was a primary producer of cash crops such as Cocoa, Timber, Palm-oil, Groundnut and Rubber making Nigeria a major exporter of these crops, In the 1960s and immediately before the oil boom of the 1970s, agriculture contributed 60% to Nigeria‘s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 70% to export, and 95% to food needs (Chidiadi, 2009).
Following the global shift from oil and gas to solar energy, biofuel etc couple with the current dwindling of the crude oil in the international market, there has never been a more appropriate time to diversify economy more than now. There are abounding opportunities in Oyo State for the development of a commercially driven profit oriented type of agriculture to thrive .
Agriculture is rapidly growing as one of the key sectors on both the local and global level, now it has evolved properly into Agribusiness with the capacity to not only contribute to economic development but to also create multiple streams for revenue generation for both individuals and the State along it’s many value chains. Massive employment of labour, foreign exchange earnings, food security such as crops, livestock and fisheries, raw materials to support industries. The benefits of channeling state resources into the revamping and redevelopment of a thriving Agricultural sector in Oyo State is limitless.
Although the country witnessed revenue windfall from the years of oil boom, the immediate aftermath of this development was the palpable neglect of agriculture due to mismanagement, inconsistency and poorly conceived government policies, the lack of necessary infrastructure to enable proper access to farms structures, access of farmers to viable farm inputs and meaningful government incentive to farmers, bureaucratic bottlenecks among government agencies in executing agricultural policies and programmes have piled up and created a massive blockage on the pathway of growth for Agribusiness in Nigeria.
In Oyo State, the Agricultural sector has been a major source of employment and revenue especially for residents of the rural setting, it still plays a vital role in their economic growth and serve as the major source of revenue generation for financial stability.
Understanding the many benefits of boosting the state’s economy through agriculture, the Oyo State’s Government under the able leadership of Governor Seyi Makinde has put in place projects to harness the development of agribusiness by investing in the agricultural sector to increase production and create channels for value added outputs across the State.
Governor Makinde development plan to prioritise agriculture is an integral part of his campaign promises for socioeconomic transformation to ensure food security, job creation, increase IGR and move the state from poverty to prosperity.
Agriculture has contributed and has the potential of contributing in big measure to Oyo State’s economic development as it increases domestic supply of food for consumption, increase labour for employment in the industrial sector including in market size for industrial output and supply of domestic saving.
With a projected population of 7,840,864 in 2016, Oyo State has a population of 415,030 farm families (2007 Crop enumeration Exercise).
Oyo State is the fifth most populous State in the Nigeria over 70% of the state’s workforce is engaged in a form of agribusiness or involved in the food production sector.
The State is endowed with a favourable climate and ecological conditions, vast arable mass of land estimated at about 28,000 sq km as well as soil structures that support the production of an impressive range of crops like fruits, vegetables, maize, yam, cassava, millet, rice, plantains, cocoa, oil palm, cashew etc. Presently the state has an untapped and available arable land suitable for large-scale farming with a size of about 2,710,793 hectares.
Government assistance in terms of friendly policies and better physical infrastructure such as access road to farm and farmers’ market, storage capacity for seeds and crops aggregation, trainings on agricultural best practices and low interest loans for farmers would play a critical role in the development of agriculture and promotion of agribusiness in Oyo State.
Governor Seyi Makinde has taken bold steps to rejuvenate agriculture in Oyo State by putting in place a lot of friendly policies and implementing projects in the agribusiness sector to make it more attractive to the youths population who have lost interest in agriculture.
With the world facing global food insecurity there is an opportunity for Oyo State to focus on boosting its many agricultural edges profitably not as a way of life business for the rural dwellers alone but as a lucrative business that can improve the well-being of everyone engaged in it as well as contributing hugely to improving the economy of Oyo State. Therefore, Governor Makinde’s plans to improve the productivity of farmers by strengthening production in areas where the State has a comparative advantage for commercial agriculture, link production to markets and consumers to enhance greater income and fiscal economic growth is at the right time
Agro-allied Industries in the State are to benefit from the policies being introduced by the Government to enhance productivity and growth, Increased in farm produce will engender more output for the industries. With increase in the availability of industrial raw material more companies will spring up in Oyo State contributing to economy growth and development.
Government policies have mandated to revamp farm settlements at different locations such as Fasola, Akufo and Eruwa. There are also vast cattle ranches at Saki, Fasola and Ibadan, a dairy farm at Monatan in Ibadan.
Recently, His Excellency, Governor Seyi Makinde inaugurated the Annual State Farmers’ Support Programme through which 20,000 small-holder farmers received improved seedlings, farm implements and fertilisers at the Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology, Igboora, in Oke-Ogun area of the State. The programme was initiated in conjunction with the State COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (N-CARES) – a World Bank-supported intervention.
In his remarks, Governor Makinde recalled that similar support programme was carried out at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, where about 10,000 small scale farmers were empowered. He described the small-scale farmers as vital in the efforts of the State Government to boost food production.
Furthermore, Governor Seyi Makinde declared that youth are significant to his administration and will train 10,000 youths in agriculture to move from poverty to prosperity.
10,000 youth will be beneficiaries of the Youth Entrepreneurship in Agribusiness Project (YEAP), a laudable initiative of Governor Seyi Makinde. Some of the participants, who were selected in batches, graduated recently at the CSS Integrated Farms, Gora, Nasarawa State, and have given testimonies of the tremendous experience gained during the programme.
The YEAP’s objective is to empower youths through agriculture and agriculture value chain, as the Governor once stated that addressing youth unemployment and channeling them towards productive ventures is a top priority of his administration.
The multiplier effects of Governor Makinde’s vision in boosting and developing agriculture in Oyo State will play an huge role in boosting the State’s GDP, increase the purchasing power of the people and revenue generation for the State.