Kwara State governor, Dr Abdulfatah Ahmed has charged his colleagues on the need to develop the agricultural sector of the economy as a sustainable means of generating the necessary revenue and providing employment opportunities for the teeming youth population.
The governor who gave the charge in a paper entitled “Projects and Opportunities in the States: Kwara State Demand-Driven Agriculture Model” at a Presidential Retreat of the National Economic Council (NEC) in Abuja on Tuesday, identified critical factors states must focus on to drive agricultural developments as supporting investments in logistics and irrigation in order to promote all season farming, allowing and protecting investments by the private sector and embracing data-driven decision making.
The governor added that states should initiate policies that would increase knowledge and benefits of commercial agriculture by farmers while the roles and importance of middle men in the demand driven platforms should be critically assessed to avoid bottlenecks.
He stressed that economic infrastructure such as electricity, telecommunications as well as social infrastructure such as hospitals, housing and education should be developed to halt rural-urban migration by making live more meaningful for people in the villages to sustain their passion in agriculture.
The governor also said a major component of the states’ agriculture development model was the establishment of Agriculture Mall where transactions on every input in agribusiness could be carried out with ease. According to him these include seedlings and chemicals, financing and advisory platforms, technology, mechanization and extensive services, agriculture based laboratories as well as markets and marketing.
According to the governor, the Off-Taker Demand Driven Scheme initiated by the Kwara State Government to promote agriculture as business has so far recorded 65 percent completion circle of production. Dr Abdulfatah Ahmed said the scheme which concentrate on four crops, was financed with N214m in 2014, which increased to N365.8m by December 2015.