The Ondo State Government pay out the sum of N120 million to 2,400 farmers made up of 232 groups in the state under the Fadama III Project Additional Financing (AF). Alhaji Lasisi Oluboyo, the deputy governor of the state, made this known on today during the official flag-off ceremony of Fadama III Additional Financing (AF) when presenting those cheques to farmers in the state.
Alhaji Lasisi Oluboyo, who was representing the Ondo state Government at the event. He said that his government had spent over N5 billion to implement various agric-related programmes in the last six years and also paid N380 million as counterpart contributions to the Fadama Project from inception. According to him, one of the major policy thrusts of the 12-point agenda of his administration involves using agriculture to address problems of food security and youth employment confronting the society.
The Deputy governor who is acting on behalf of Governor Dr. Olusegun Mimiko; said “the problems of unemployment, mostly among the youths, had resulted into some social vices like youth restiveness, prostitution, armed robbery, drug addiction and advance fee fraud. “This government has, therefore, put in place the New Generation Farmers Programme as a means of empowering the youth and increasing the population of young farmers so that agricultural productivity can hike up and alleviate poverty in the state,” he said.”the state had cultivated 1,384 hectares of farmland for the production of maize, cassava and cowpea.”
Listing other initiatives under the aegis of Ondo State Cooperative Federation (ODSCOFED), Wealth Creation Agency (WECA), Ondo State Agricultural Commodities Association (OSACA) among others. The governor said the fund was channelled toward empowering the teeming farmers and unemployed youths who were ready to work in agricultural based enterprises.
He urged beneficiaries not to see the fund as free money but to work hard to justify government investment by sustaining the various businesses. The Permanent Secretary, Ministry for Agriculture, Mr Alex Aragbaiye, said Fadama III Project had implemented 784 sub projects across 160 Fadama Communities. Aragbaye noted that a total of 675 out of the sub-projects are income generating enterprises while the rest 109 are rural infrastructures that promote agricultural production, processing and marketing. ‘’Over 30,000 farmers who are direct beneficiaries of the project intervention have had their capacity building in one area of agriculture and the others,” he said. Aragbaiye disclosed that the fund was made possible through the funding arrangements of International Development Association (IDA) with N676, 482, 545.20, the state government contribution of N292, 066, 00, local governments’ contribution of N72, 000, 000 and beneficiaries’ contribution of N250, 432, 698.2.
The State Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Mrs Florence Omogbemi, harped on the need to focus on agriculture to boost the nation’s economy. Omogbemi said that the sector contributes 40 per cent to the GDP against 13 per cent by the oil sector. ‘’The agriculture sector employs about two-thirds of the total labour force and provides livelihood for about 90 per cent of the rural population,’’ she said.