Governor, State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has called for a ban on the export of primary farm produce as part of strategies to ensure food sufficiency in the country.
Aregbesola made the call in Osogbo on Sunday in a statement he issued by his media aide, Semiu Okanlawon
The governor opined that the ban would enhance the value chains of the nation’s agricultural investments.
He also urged government to fashion out measures that would make agriculture to be attractive to a new generation of young Nigerians.
He noted that this would be viable option towards economic diversification, adding that Nigeria had yet to show serious efforts towards making farming a viable venture.
“We should stop exporting primary produce and start adding value. The value of a kilogram of exported cocoa beans increases 5,000% by the time it comes back as chocolate,” the governor said.
Aregbesola said the nation’s agriculture must be directed towards producing what the country needs and not what it could only export.
“The orientation of our agriculture towards producing raw materials, especially cash crops, for the industries in Europe and the Americas must be reversed.
Agriculture is needed primarily for food production; only well fed people can drive economic development.
Good nutrition is the primary basis of good health which drives productivity and energy,” he said.
As part of efforts to boost the internally generated revenue in Osun, the state government and the Cattle Butchers Association in the state have both agreed on seven hundred naira as the new levy to be paid on each cattle slaughtered in the state.
This was the outcome of a meeting between the butchers and representatives of the state government held at the government secretariat in Abere.
It was also agreed at the meeting that henceforth, the establishment of a new slaughter slab will attract the payment of 50,000 Naira while the registration of each member of the butchers association will attract the sum of 2,500naira and subsequent payment for renewal will attract 1,000 Naira annually.
Speaking during the meeting, former Commissioner for Agric and Food Security in the state, Mr Wale Adedoyin stated that the levies became necessary in a bid to boost the IGR of the state and at the same time provide the necessary facilities at the slaughter slabs across the state.
The consultant to the governor on agric and food security stressed that the administration of Ogbeni Aregbesola does not intend to cause hardship or pains to the butchers through the introduction of the new levies, but to make life better for all and sundry in the state even in the face of the current economic challenges facing the country.
In their separate remarks, the Patron of the state butchers association ,Alhaji Tiamiyu Alamu as well the chairman, Alhaji Sulaiman Adebimpe thanked the government of the state for always carrying them along in decisions that affect the association, saying that members of his association will strive to comply with the new laid down rules.
In his remark, the Coodinating Director in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Youth Engagement, Dr Bukola Aluko assured the butchers that government will continue to provide facilities and support that will make their job easier.
AS part of the efforts at improving the entrepreneurship skills of staff and students of Osun State Polytechnic Iree, a five-day workshop was organised for the polytechnic community on apiary, bee keeping and honey production.
A volunteer of the United States for International Development (USAID) to Nigeria, Mr. Caleb O’Biren described the apiary farming and bee keeping as a panacea to poverty, saying it is a veritable venture that could boost the nation’s economy.
The apiary workshop was packaged by USAID and Winrock International, a Non-Governmental Organisation, as a stable of the farmer-to-farmer programme of the organisation to boost Agricultural technology in Nigeria through trainings and workshops for officials of tertiary institutions and local farmers in the country.
The institution’s Media Relation’s Officer, Mr. Tope Abiola, said participants at the workshop were trained on modern technology of Bee Keeping and Honey Production which the USAID official described as a veritable venture that could be used to provide jobs for unemployed Nigerians.
Bee keeping specialist Mr. O’biren, an American based apiary and bee keeping specialist, declared that “apiary is a good venture that could be done in local communities with a little capital to produce honey in large quantity”.
While explaining the importance of honey and demand for it in all parts of the world, O’biren explained that “honey production is not capital intensive, its production can survive a country, because it is what is needed by all homes in a country”.
“It is a daily need that is used for treatment of certain ailments. It is also used to prevent certain deceases which could cause damage to some cells in our bodies”.
Explaining why the Osun State Polytechnic Iree organised the training for staffers of the institution and farmers in Iree Community, the Rector of the institution who is the facilitator of the workshop, Dr. Jacob Olusola Agboola stated that it was part of the capacity building and skills acquisition program embarked upon recently by the institution.
Dr. Agboola stressed that “apiary and bee keeping is a type of agriculture that we must encourage in our community to engage our teeming youths in the country, who are unemployed, while employed individuals can also embark on it to boost their economic power.
He added that it is part of efforts of the Department of Agric Engineering and Bioenvironmental Studies of the Polytechnic to train local farmers in the state on modern Agricultural skills.
The leadership of Methodist Church Nigeria has openly declared it readiness to support government at all levels in Nigeria especially the State Government of Osun on massive agricultural production in order to salvage the current economic crisis.
The declaration was made by the Prelate, Methodist Church Nigeria, Dr. Samuel Emeka Uche, while paying a visit to Governor Aregbesola in his office, at Government Secretariat, Abere, Osogbo.
The cleric who lamented over the current economic situation in the country said the nation has driven to a stage where government at all levels must tighten their belts in strengthen the economy of the country for the general well being of her citizenry.
The religious leader who attributed the dwindling revenues to the coffers of the federal, state and local governments, to what he described as negligence of agriculture by the successive government in the country, stressing that if the nation has diligently and prudently explored her potentials in agriculture, the country would have grown beyond her current stage.
Dr. Uche explained further that, the only sustainable alternative to the current economic challenges was for the government and people of Nigeria to develop the required passions at resuscitating and revamping the lost glory of agriculture, which according to him has been ignorantly neglected by the past administrations in the country.
The Methodist Prelate who commended Governor Aregbesola for building an unsurpassable future for the state on all sectors of the economy especially agriculture, saying Governor Aregbesola has successfully proven his weights as a responsive and responsible Governor whose passion for development can never be measured or estimated.
Dr. Uche who described the allocation of Osun as the least among its peers, commended Governor Aregbesola for aggressively promoting the state within the template of meagre resources.
According to him, Osun has been prudently managing the affairs of the state despite the fact that the state by all standards receives the least allocation from the Federation Accounts.
He stated further that the giant strides of the current administration at building a self-sufficient and economic-independent state had been a driven force for economic realities being pursued by the current government.
Dr. Uche who assured total obedience and compliance towards the civic responsibilities of the citizenry in the country said, the time has come for all Nigerians to demonstrate high sense of commitment and seriousness towards taxation.
The spiritual father who described Nigeria as the only country where citizens display sense of adamancy towards taxation, saying if Nigeria must truly develop, her citizens must support the government with prompt tax payment.
“The purpose of our visit is to establish our staunch support and collaboration for Nigerian government in a bid to strengthen the nation’s economy and serve as helping hands in repositioning the country for all round development.
“We have identified agriculture as the only sustainable means of continuous existence of Nigeria. Our focus is to partner with government at all levels in the area of agriculture to enhance its production capacity and boost the revenues accruable to Nigeria and states of the federation.
“Methodist Church of Nigeria is not only committed to spiritual work but to be part of the process that will strengthen the economy of Nigeria and increase its revenue basis.
“In view of this, we have resolved as a religious institution to engage our members especially the youths on farming as we strongly believe that with the support of government, we shall succeed.
“We are appealing to your excellency to give us the needed supports most importantly enough lands for cultivation and plantation.
“The only way to rescue the country out of the present economic situation is to show our support and collaborate with government on agriculture”, Dr. Uche stated.
In his remarks, Governor Rauf Aregbesola who expressed delight over the economic foresight of the leadership of Methodist Church said their resolution to support the government efforts on agriculture and taxation was a testimony to present economic reality.
Governor Aregbesola also commended the leadership of the Methodist church for identifying with the state on its present economic challenges, promising to render whatever support requires to aid members of the church actualizing its dreams.
The Governor who lamented over the continuous reduction in the global prices of crude oil said, his government would not be distracted in its efforts to uplift the state.
He said, “The declaration of the leadership of methodist church Nigeria to support us in agriculture and taxation is an indication to the fact that everyone in the state should engage in agriculture not only for consumption but for commercialization.
“Massive agricultural production remains the most sustainable alternative to success and progress in any country of the world especially Nigeria that is blessed with fertile soil.
“The wayout to our economic crisis is agriculture. Humanity has never found alternative to consumption of food as a means of survival.
“Science and technology has never found a replacement for food as a means of survival and it is quite idiotic for any nation or society to depend on others for the basic means of existence.
“It is also abnormal for any nation, country, society or community to depend externally on other for food production.
“The starting point of our economic recovery is the capacity to feed ourselves.
“For this reason, on hands must be deck to resuscitate the potentials in agriculture and explore its value for the betterment of all.
Governor Aregbesola further assured the leadership of the church of his administration’s collaborative gestures to ensure that all agricultural ventures in the state collaborate most effectively with the church to actualize its dreams as the state was ready to give it whatever size of land required to ensure that the church dreams come to past.
“This is important because the era of crude oil to me has gone. Any nation that based their wealth on digging the earth have ended up in penury.
“The only successful nations are those that simply believe in teeming the soil for the purpose of planting, cultivating and living on the produce of the land, none of such nations who had adopted farming had ever recorded penury.
“For your church to have openly declared your partnership with government in massive agricultural production apart from evangelism, is a testimony to the progressive nature of Methodist church in the world.
“This declaration by the Methodist church of Nigeria is a reflective signal to bring back our senses fully autonomous- independent nation because wealth is simply the capacity to feed oneself, individuals, community, state and nation as well as saving surplus for the future and for exportation.
“I commend you for your foresight, for your cleared objectives and unflinching support to aid our efforts on economic recovery.
“We will support you with extension services not only on land but in all ramifications to actualize your dreams.