As the world marks food day, Oyo State government has assured residents that there would be improved availability of farm produce, due to sufficient rainfall this year and preparedness of the government.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Ojemuyiwa Ojekunle, gave the assurance during a live radio phone-in programme, ‘Oro to nlo’ at Oluyole FM on Friday in Ibadan.
Ojekunle said that to combat hunger, poverty, malnutrition and degradation of natural resources, due measures were already in place to ensure massive production of food in Oyo State.
The commissioner stated that despite the unexpected COVID-19 pandemic, necessary measures were being taken by the state government to improve farmers’ capacity to produce more efficiently.
He added that rice production would be massive by the next planting session, even as the Federal Government had banned the importation of rice.
He, however, called on the youth to participate more in agriculture, adding that youths hold the key to a prosperous nation.
Ojekunle stated further that acres of land had already been allotted for agricultural activities in places like Ilero, Igbeti, Ogbomoso, among others.
He said the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) is currently researching into how crops would grow in abundance, as well as areas to improve livestock production to encourage youths in the sector.
According to him, agriculture has also been extended to the younger ones in grammar school.
He noted that many young ones struggled in trying to earn a livelihood while they lacked productive resources necessary for agriculture.
“The younger ones have a role and place in agriculture and now is the time to engage them in agricultural activities, strengthen higher education in agriculture, put agriculture on the school curricular which virtually most schools are doing now.
“We have empowered them to speak up, link social media to agriculture, improve agriculture image and enforce the greater use of information and communication technologies (ICT).
“This we did so that contributions will also be made by them to aid food security, improve income generation, economic diversification and growth,” he said.
Ojekunle, therefore, encouraged the people not to give up on agriculture, because agriculture is the future for economic profitability, environmental health and social equity.
Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Ekemini Ladejobi