By Sowore Allen
In keeping with his campaign promise of creating employment through agriculture, Ondo state Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu. SAN, yesterday distributed cheques worth two hundred and fifteen million (N215,000,000) to farmers in the state.
I interacted with one of the officials of the Ministry of Agriculture, Mrs Jumoke Bakare, who gave me details. According to her, the over 1,989 beneficiaries of the World Bank assisted grants were arranged into fifty one (51) Clusters and about one hundred and ninety groups. She went further to say that the release of the grant was made possible because the state government promptly paid its counterpart fund.
Not only that, farm inputs and agricultural tools worth million of naira were distributed. The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Mr Alex Aragbaye in his address said that under the Fadama lll Additional Financing , a total of 335 Business Plans costing a total of N494.7 million were submitted to the International Development Agency (IDA) out of which the N215 million distributed was released.
Further breakdown shown that a sum of N197,742,500 million will be used by the farmers to cultivate cassava on 2,000 hectares of arable land.
Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Agriculture, who couldn’t hide his joy for the success recorded so far, revealed that, the state government was expecting the delivery of tractors. ” Ondo state government expects N3 billion for the cultivation of palm trees and cocoa, ” he said.
Already, over 300 youths have been trained under the graduate unemployed youths programme, yet, over 2,000 youths are targeted for the Fadama lll Project. This is tremendous progress !
The Governor, who many people have described as a ” Silent Revolutionist” because he doesn’t make too much noise about his achievements, said that one of his cardinal programmes for the state has been fulfilled. He urged the farmers to be disciplined and use the money for the purpose it’s meant for.
On May, 24th this year, Arakunrin Akeredolu flagged of the 10,000 hectares Gmelina Tree Plantation Project at Omotosho in Okitipupa Local Government Areas of the state. The project is a Private Partnership with Wewood Limited- Chinese company and it’s targeted at generating about 10,000 direct jobs. Again, this has recorded a huge success.
Even the National Project Coordinator of Fadama, Mr Tayo Adewumi remarked that within the six months of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, the policy trust of Green Alternative aimed at restoring the agribusiness glory of the, nation, especially in Food Sufficiency, Value Addition, Youth and Women Empowerment, Climate Smart Agriculture, Infrastructure Support and Employment Generation have all received tremendous progress in Ondo state.
Without sounding immodest, one can gladly say that Governor Akeredolu is at verge of taking Ondo State back to those glory days when the Cocoa House in Ibadan was built with revenue that accrued from cocoa plantation in Ondo state.