South West stakeholders set to power economy with Agriculture



As part of efforts to diversify the economy, stakeholders from the South West region, met in Ibadan, Oyo State, recently, to brainstorm on the way forward.

The effort was to provide platform for agricultural stakeholders, both from the private and public sector to review and reflect various efforts adopted in time past, as well as, preview strategies on how to achieve optimal result in the sector.

Tagged: South West Agricultural Summit 2016, with the theme: “Achieving An Agro-Powered Regional Economy,” it was facilitated by the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission and AgroNigeria, a leading private sector agricultural organisation.

The state Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, who stated that the event is not only timely and auspicious, said it is of critical essence that stakeholders come together to discuss the matter of regional survival and growth.

While acknowledging that the purpose is to develop a broad regional integration agenda for the promotion and exploitation of the agricultural potentials of the Yoruba region within the context of the Nigeria federation, Ajimobi who spoke through his Commissioner of Finance, stressed that now is the time to go back and reconnect with the glorious heritage.

According to him: “This is the first region-based dialogue on agricultural development in Nigeria. Now is the time to go back and reconnect with the glorious heritage. Now is the time to let go of our dependence on the unsustainable path of oil and gas, two commodities with expiry date.”

In his remarks, Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State said it is obvious that the era of free petrol dollars had gone, noting that the summit would afford states in the region the opportunity to go back to basis.

Represented by the Director General, Office of Economic Development and Partnership, Dr. Charles Akinola, Aregbesola, who described the summit as a welcome development, added that it is now obvious that the region is ready to face reality that agriculture is the only way out of the present economic situation in the country.

“The summit is a welcome development. It is a good one because I think we are going back to the root. The era of a $100 or $120 per barrel is gone. We need to diversify our economy and agriculture is a natural space that we should be operating.

While expressing hope that the summit would afford the states opportunity to reflect and review their individual agricultural policies, he maintained that the forum would ensure knowledge sharing on policies that can be adopted at the regional level to foster synergy and additional agricultural value chain for the individual state.

“As a matter of fact, what is happening here today is that the states and other practitioners and stakeholders are here to share lessons on what has worked and what has not. It is to look at how some of these success stories can lend themselves to a region-wide adoption.”

Director General, DAWN Commissions, Mr. Dipo Famakinwa in his remarks, lamented that there have been a lot of actions and different policies done from state to state, farmer to farmer, businessman to businessman, entrepreneurs to entrepreneurs, many of which were not well connected nor integrated in relations to regional economy.

He said: “So it is important for us to do this, so that we can couple an atmosphere together that will create and inspire the abilities and actions of everybody and ensure that the business of agric begins to make sense in the Southwest and the agric entreprenuers begin to do what they are supposed to do in terms of the diversification of the economy of the region and for government to also take optimal advantage of the sector, not only for revenue generation, but also for employment creation, wealth creation and even social security,” he said

Chief Executive Officer, AgroNigeria, Mr. Richard-Mark Mbaram, the co-organiser of the summit, explained that the purpose is to make sure that the private sector carries the public sector hand-in-hand, in exploring the prospects in agriculture for the benefit of the region as a whole.

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