Agriculturewas the bedrock of the communal and individual wealth of our state and citizens in not too distant past. It provided employment to a large percentage of the population and served as catalyst to the industrialization efforts.
Like most other sectors, what is left of a once vibrant agriculture sector is a mere nostalgic feeling and relics of what used to be.
Of course, the farm settlements have been starved of funds, largely abandoned and become homes only to reptiles and other wild animals. Poor infrastructure in the rural areas has further accentuated rural urban migration, resulting in dearth of manpower in the sector and consequent reduction in agricultural production. What used to be the mainstay of our economy has now been left in the hands of peasant farmers who still depend on traditional hoes and cutlass and lack access to credit facilities. Extension services, of course, are virtually non-existent.
Agriculture is very central to our employment generation and wealth creation agenda. Towards this end, the sector will be given a boost through overhauling and revitalization of the farm settlements as a first step. Agriculture will be made attractive to our youths through a bouquet of incentives that will include easier access to credit facilities and mechanization, improved extension services through partnerships with universities and research institutes and provision of infrastructure in rural areas to stem rural -urban migration and access to local and international produce market.!
Besides, storage silos will be established to make seasonal grains available all-year round, preserve excess yield and ensure price stability thus providing incentives to farmers to produce more. In addition, massive efforts will be taken to revitalize fish farming and animal husbandry. We have a huge capacity and are well placed to feed not only our State but also that of our neighboring States, especially the high consumption of Lagos State.
A strong link exists between increased agriculture production and industrialization. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) clusters and Industrial Parks will be established, as Public Private Partnerships, near the farm settlements to obtain input raw materials for processing to enhance the value, both for local and international markets. Power is key to increased agriculture production and industrialization. Therefore, the administration will encourage the establishment of Independent Power Plants through Public Private Partnership.