Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, hinted that the days depending on the month handouts from the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) are numbered, given his administration’s to boost the state’s economy by partnering investors in the agricultural value chain.
He said his administration will encourage investors in the agriculture sector to expand the economy of the state as well as surmount challenges facing their operations, create youth employment, increase expertise and, in the process, generate the much needed foreign exchange.
Makinde, who spoke during a visit to inspect the abandoned 10,000 metric-tons silo project embarked upon by the immediate past administration and the Ajila Value Adding Ventures Limited in Aawe, according to a statement by Taiwo Adisa, his chief press secretary, expressed satisfaction at the opportunities waiting to be tapped.
At Aawe, the governor who was received by the Alaawe of Aawe, Oba Cornelius Abiola Taiwo, was conducted round the poultry, hatchery, egg powder processing plant and palm trees plantation of the farms, by chairman and Managing Dirctor of Ajila Farms, Philip Olutayo and Dotun Odekeye respectively.
He stressed the intention of his government to encourage Ajila Farms and other investors in the agriculture sector by addressing their challenges and, where necessary, providing incentives to help them expand their operations so that they could provide employment for the teeming youths of the state.
“We will encourage them. Some of them may have challenges; security challenges, some of them may have challenges with access to the market. We will look at their challenges and make sure that we solve them. And we may even give incentives to some of them to expand their operations and employ our youths,” Governor Makinde said.
Also speaking at the site of the abandoned silo project, the governor expressed displeasure at the pace of work, which he noted should have been completed within 10 months, making it clear that his government was ready to explore all options to make sure the project is delivered so that farmers and the state could derive value from it.
“We have had court cases over the project, so we intend to solve all these challenges because the state has expended so much money on that project and we have not been able to get any value from it. So, if we will need to spend a little more to make sure that we derive value from it, we will do it.
“The case is in arbitration right now, but I will encourage the contractor to come to sit down with us so that we can explore options of out of court settlement. We are not arrogant about this thing. This is a project that should bring value to our farmers and to the economy of the state and that is what we set out to achieve”, he stressed.
Earlier, Phillips, assured that the farm was focused on the agriculture value chain and backward integration to provide direct and indirect employment for youths and other business concerns.
The company, he assured, is ready to partner the state government to boost agricultural development in the state, explaining that “our business is focused on agricultural value chain and backward integration, providing direct and indirect employment for youths, growing numerous other business concerns as the hub to ensure sustainable development and other indirect employment for our youths, vendors, suppliers, and contractors.”
In the governor’s entourage were the Chief of Staff, Chief Bisi Ilaka; the Head of Service, Alhaja Amidat Agboola; and the Executive Adviser to the Governor on Agribusiness, Dr. Debo Akande, among others.