By Bamidele Moses
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi, has charged Nigerians to use the current economic recession to go back to land and cultivate both cash and food crops to achieve food security for the citizenry.
The traditional ruler also called on government at all levels to ensure massive agricultural revolution.
According to him, “the country should seize the opportunity of the current economic recession occasioned by the fall in oil revenue to go back to land and cultivate both cash and food crops for industries and consumption.
The royal father spoke at a one day forum of plantain innovation cluster/stakeholders interactive session, a presentation of Humid Tropics and Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa, FARA, at Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU, Ile-Ife.
Represented by Elejesi of Ejesi-Ife, Oba Babatunde Awosunle, the monarch said part of his efforts to reduce youth restiveness and unemployment in his domain was on assumption on the throne; he acquired hundreds of hectares of land for cultivation of both cash and food crops where youths are fully engaged.
His words, “Ile-Ife from the time immemorial is known for the production of both cash and food crops. We have land to encourage farmers particularly, the youths to go into farming.
“We want to join hands with stakeholders on how to improve and increase plantain production in my domain. I am more passionate about youth development”, he added.
In his remarks at the occasion, Osun State Governor, Mr Rauf Aregbesola said the state government had created conducive environment to ensure mass production of Agricultural products to ensure food security in the state.
According to him, one of the intervention programmes of his administration was in the area of poultry and fish production which formed part of the school feeding programme of the government.
Represented by Dr. Bukola Aluko, the Coordinating Director in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Governor Aregbesola disclosed that the federal government had already shown interest in the O’meal programme of the state government.
In his remarks, a lecturer in the department of Agriculture, Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU, Ile-Ife, Professor Adeolu Ayanwale advocated support from both the federal and state governments for plantain farmers in the country.
According to him, “government should support farmers by providing enabling market and irrigation for the production of more crops to ensure food security in Nigeria.
He disclosed that the forum of plantain innovation platform was launched last year to facilitate the interaction of the stakeholders in plantain value chain.