The governor of Oyo state, Engr Seyi Makinde, has stated that the “Pace-setter state” is well-poised to be the economic driver and food basket of not only Nigeria, but also the entire West Africa.
This he said while declaring open the Economy of Francesco 2022 conference, held at the Dominican University, Ibadan, on Friday, September 23, 2022, an international event hosted by the the Studentate Dominican Province of St Joseph the Worker (Nigeria and Ghana), popularly known as the Dominican Student Brothers, and Student Christian Movement (SCM).
The number one citizen of the state, who spoke through his Executive Assistant, Rev. Dr Idowu Ogedengbe, stated that when he came into power, the state had Oyo State Agricultural Development Programme (OYSADEP), which his administration changed to Oyo State Agribusiness Development Agency (OYSADA), with the aim of attracting investors and creating the entire agriculture value chain in the state, using its vast natural resources.
Executive Assistant to Oyo State Governor, Rev. Dr Idowu Ogedengbe
According to him, “This programme, with its title ‘Make it Local’ is timely. It will spur us into action to come up with ideas, policies and determination to end food importation. Oyo state has been doing so well in that regard.
When we came, we had OYSADEP and we converted it to OYSADA. The vision is to promote infrastructural development within the agricultural space. We started inviting investors, which we still do, since we have the arable land, opportunities and farm settlements. We are converting the farm settlements into farm estates to have all the agricultural value chain.”
Speaking further, he said, “We are beginning to see the results. We have attracted several billions of naira in investments and we are not resting on our oars. We believe we can drive the economy of West Africa through agribusiness by enhancing the knowledge of our young people, and we are already training them”.
The governor, who had earlier lamented the shortfall on Nigeria’s foreign reserve, blamed that on the country’s inability to invest in her productive capacity, which he stated that agriculture is the solution, as can be seen in Zambia.
The event which was titled “Promoting Agriculture through Intergenerational Dialogue”, as explained by the host, Rev. Fr Francis Chiadi, OP, in his welcome address, is aimed at bringing in more youths into the sector, by creating fora for idea sharing between the youths, who have the strength and elders, who have the experience.
Rev. Fr Francis Chiadi, OP
Recall that OYSADEP, which started as Oyo North Agricultural Development Programme (ONADEP) and sponsored by the World Bank, with its headquarters at Saki, was said to had been ineffective when its head office was moved to Ibadan; Gov. Makinde, upon resumption of office relocated the new OYSADA back to Saki.
The Economy of Francesco, as earlier implied, is an international event that was established by Pope Francis in November 2020 and dedicated, in particular, to young people working in the field of economics, those who study economic disciplines, as well as young entrepreneurs, researchers and economists from all over the world.
Keynote speakers at the event include Prof. Alex Ikeme, a consultant for the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and the Executive Director, Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), Dr Patrick Adebola.