The Ogun Government on Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) as part of measures to boost the agricultural sector in the state.
The Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Adeola Odedina, said the partnership with IITA would strengthen agricultural intervention activities as well as expand mechanised agricultural opportunities.
Odedina, while signing the MoU at the institute’s Head Office in Ibadan, noted that the state was leveraging on the expertise of IITA to further assist in executing its key strategic agriculture pillars of food security, job creation, industrialisation, nutrition and food safety among others.
The commissioner stressed that the official sealing of the partnership would make the state benefit in the area of improved planting materials.
He added that the state would also benefit in technical support for the establishment of demonstration farms for youths that would focus on agricultural projects as well as training.
Odedina said that the focus on agriculture in the state was in the frontline such that the state would not rely on its expertise alone.
“In Ogun State, the focus on agriculture is real and we have close to 70,000 young people that have registered for opportunities in agriculture and the opportunity is along the value-chain.
“Before we deliver on this responsibility as a state, we don’t want to rely on our strength alone, we also want to rely on partners.
“In the last two months, we have been working to develop an MoU so that IITA can support our programme in terms of technology, infrastructure and advice
“Ogun state is running the biggest cassava programme in Nigeria, so some of our youths will be coming here to learn.
“We have over 27,000 registered cassava growers under its Anchor Borrowers Programme.
“We can’t do less than to attach our aprons to IITA in the cassava sector so that our youths can come out with high yield and farmers can sustainably supply raw materials to industries,” he said.
Also speaking, Dr Angel Adelaja-Kuye, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Agriculture, said that the state was positioning itself to ensure it maintained its agricultural hub status.
She added that the partnership was in line with the state government’s desire to make agriculture the mainstay of its economy and also to make the sector technology-driven.
The Director-General of the IITA, Mr Nteranya Sanginga, who was represented by Mr Kenton Dashiell, the Deputy Director General, Partnership for Delivery, said Ogun was on the right track on agricultural development.
Sanginga commended the state’s agriculture team for being effective and efficient in boosting the state’s economy through agriculture.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that other agricultural experts that were present during the signing of the MoU were the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Dotun Sorunke.
Others were the General Manager, Ogun State Agricultural Development Programme, Mr Taiwo Ayansanwo and the Coordinator, Cassava Revolution, Mrs Kehinde Jokotoye.