By Gabriel Olawale
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has insisted that exportation of yam is a laudable development that will not cause artificial scarcity or lead to increase in the price of the staple food at the local markets.
Allaying the fears of the people in relation to the decision of the FG to begin yam exportation, the minister explained that it was a laudable development that would not have negative consequences on the country.
According to him, yam was already being illegally exported through the borders with the labels of other countries that did not plant them.
This is just as the minister identified Oyo State as strategic and significant to the drive by the country to be self-sufficient in food production and exportation of agricultural produce.
The minister took this position during a courtesy visit to the State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, at the Government House, Agodi, Ibadan, on Sunday evening.
Ogbeh is on a two-day working visit to the state, during when he is expected to visit farm settlements, old ranches and allied locations, as well as attend a town hall meeting with farmers, youths, women and other stakeholders in agric business across the state, today.
The minister said that his visit was meant to reawaken the consciousness of the people to the untapped potential in the agric value chain and the strategic importance of the state as partners in the Federal Government’s latest initiative to use agriculture for sustainable development.
Having recognized the state as hosting the largest number of poultry farms across the country, the minister said that Oyo State could unequivocally be adjudged as the protein capital of the country.
The minister said that the concentration of cashew nuts in Ogbomoso was another opportunity that would be tapped by the FG, stressing that exportation of cashew nuts would no longer be allowed.
Ogbeh told the governor that Lagos alone consumes 6,000 cows daily, while the whole nation eats 40,000 cows daily, which, he said, should encourage the people to venture into cattle rearing as business.
In his response, the governor said that 80 percent of the land in the state was arable, which, he said, had placed the state at a vantage position to benefit from the FG’s planned agricultural revolution.
Ajimobi urged the FG to step up advocacy on the country’s agric rebirth initiative and its inherent accruable wealth, disclosing that the state had taken a proactive step by embracing integrated organic agricultural system.