Agriculture For Wealth Generation Is Key- OmisoreArticles/Opinion, Latest News Thursday, July 3rd, 2014
By Olawale Rasheed
A recent review of the agricultural sector in Osun state revealed many interesting facts. One is a fantastic official report of marvelous progress which are disputed by unofficial reports collated by coalition of civil society organizations . Senator Iyiola Omisore opened up on his viewpoints and agenda on the state agricultural sector.
The APC government had introduced over thirty initiatives in the agricultural sector. Checks showed that each of the Programmes entails extensive land acquisition,a web of participating firms from Lagos and a technical imprisonment of participating farmers.Omisore pointedly accused the APC of running a slave holding agricultural system.Becuase those policies are not genuinely people based,Omisore said they failed miserably despite propaganda to the contrary .
As put by Senator Omisore,” the OReap ,Osun Rural Enterprise and Agricultural Programme policy failed because it was premised on subjugating farmers to state control in land acquisition, land clearing and tractorisation. While supposedly helping farmers,Lagos firms were positioned to clear lands ,provides tractors ,farm inputs,the cost of which are deducted from source from high interest loans. The farmers were trapped as they worked on hired land under contracted firms ,losing their enterprising freedom and bonded up with heavy indebtedness.The attempted collectivization of farming imprisoned farmers in slave holding farms,reduce farm yields,lower output and accentuate food insecurity in the state.
“The economic fraud in the O- Reap and the state agricultural policy generally is that as at today close to one hundred thousand hectares of land have been acquired without compensation and distributed to emergency farmers and fronts imported from Lagos. Records showed that land acquisition and profit making drive the APC agricultural agenda.
“O-REAP – acquired over 1000 hectares of land in each LGAs but till date no gainful employment has been offered as farming is not happening.For O-FOPS – Osun Fisheries Out-grower Production Scheme,there is no established information on this scheme in all the LGAs.Limited training provided are exaggerated . For O-BOPS – Osun Broilers Production Scheme,there is no record to establish APC claim as production across the state is not encouraging. For O’BEEF, O’ HONEY,O’ COCOYAM,O’ CASSAVA,it was all mere propaganda going by recent survey across the state “, the PDP candidate said.
Experts on ground are also unanimous that the so called agricultural initiatives are too many,hence having no meaningful impact on the populace. For example,reports showed that no reduction in price of agricultural foods was witnessed while the goal of exporting to Lagos was never realized .Some are just propaganda e.g. O’cocoyam.
Senator Omisore noted further: ” Ede people were done a deadly blow when the APC failed to fulfil its promise of reviving the Cocoa Product Industry in the town. The current government has been promising since inception but no tangible policies or achievements till date on the cocoa firm. If the APC had acted rightly,the cocoa plant should by now e up and running. But the governor let the people of Ede and Osun down.
“The effect of the initiatives of the present government is not felt among the operators, agricultural business men / women and the general public. Farmers are worst off; land owners are reaped off,food security is threatened and job creation through agriculture is denied the army of unemployed. The winners are those Lagos firms and new owners of illegally acquired lands”, Senator Omisore said.
The PDP candidate noted the urgent need to immediately set up a farmers stakeholders forum to review the state of the agricultural sector. According to him,” the mess across the sectors including agriculture demands a forum to review the status quo. I will hear from farmers once our people grant us the mandate
” Talking of my agenda ,I want to put it on record that the PDP federal policy on agriculture is the best in the history of the country.The Jonathan agricultural transformation programme is rated as the best in the Sub Sahara Africa. So ,what we need to do is to replicate most of these federal Programmes,taken into account our local conditions.We will key into many of these national initiatives especially those that offer grants and direct support to the state government.
” I will focus genuinely on agricultural mechanization by adopting the federal model in the sector. Rather than the present system ,I will create a tractorisation hiring system that removes burden of farmers while at the same revolutionizing farming system in the land .Farm settlement will be truly revived through infrastructural renewal. We will stop mere playing politics and propaganda with this critical element of our state agricultural revival.More access to farm settlement through road infrastructure will be looked into in addition .
Senator Omisore listed his priority intervention in the sector as including revival of Cocoal Industry ,Ede,setting up of state agricultural commodity board ,creation of private sector backed fruits processing plants,setting up of produce storage facilities ,encouragement of growth of private sector driven cocoa and palm tree plantations ,active participation in federal agricultural transformation plan ,creation and funding of back to farm programmes,state support for farm Mechanisation using federal templates,application of renewable energies in farming ,state guranteed loan support for farners among others”, he said.
” My pledge to Osun people on the agricultural sector is that I will be a genuine friend of farmers. So I will not exploit them through false initiatives. My administration will focus on helping farmers to prosperously farm and create wealth for our collective survival”, he said.
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