Posted by News Express | 21 June 2016 | 1,999 times
The Federal Government said the present administration would neither force people to surrender land nor seize anybody’s land for ranch development in the country.
Chief Audu Ogbeh, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, stated this in Abuja when he received in audience a delegation from Oyo State Government led by the Special Adviser on Projects to the Oyo State Governor, Mrs. Tolu Shadipe, in his office.
According to Ogbeh, “the Federal Government is not going to seize anybody’s land or force people to surrender land for ranches.”
He disclosed that about 6,000 applicants had so far indicated interests in cattle breeding improvement programme in the country.
The minister said the focus of the present administration was on the sustainable development of agriculture to save the country from the present economic woes and assured that the Federal Government would continue to develop a strong partnership with state governments.
He stated that the present administration would support Oyo State Government in its bid to optimally develop its agricultural potentials, urging them to leverage on the abundant rainfall in the state to develop ranches for the cattle breeding improvement programme.
He said: “I think ranching is something that can be controlled and it is something that can be carried out in Oyo state by farmers who want to do so and for that we can give some supports”.
Chief Ogbeh also urged Oyo State Government to expand its cocoa production with the newly improved variety of cocoa with 18 months maturity date, noting that, Nigeria being one of the leading countries in cocoa production after Ivory Coast and Ghana should take its rightful position.
He said the ministry had mapped out various initiatives and programmes such as the Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprise (LIFE) project of the ministry to support state governments, thereby creating jobs and wealth for mostly women and the youths.
Ogbeh stated that Oyo State being the hub of poultry business in West Africa should intensify efforts in expanding the business frontiers, as he reiterated that part of the components for the implementation of the school feeding programme would require a child eating two to three eggs per week.
The minister further said the Federal Government would collaborate with state governments to expand the irrigation systems, citing that, Kano and Oyo states have the highest numbers of dams with 23 and 22 in numbers respectively.
He said the Federal Government and state governments would pull resources together with a view to bringing the interest rate on agricultural loan to a single digit, stressing that, “Agriculture is the real reliable source of income for the country.”
Earlier in her remarks, Mrs. Tolu Shadipe, leader of the delegation and Special Adviser to the Oyo State Governor on Projects, said the delegation was in the ministry to seek more supports on its blueprint for the development of agriculture in Oyo state.
Mrs. Shadipe said: “We have a blueprint on Agriculture and we cannot achieve this without the cooperation of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, we came to seek your collaboration to support our laudable initiatives.”
She explained that development of agriculture in Oyo State was a major priority of the administration to alleviate poverty, improve the livelihoods of women and youths and small scale farmers, adding that, the state with the land mass of 20,000 square metres is basically agrarian arable land in the 28 out of the 33 local government areas of the state. (Independent)
•Photo shows Audu Ogbeh.
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