We Have Engaged No Fewer Than 600 Youth, Oyo Will Generate 1 Billion Annually From Agribusiness — OYSADA DG

The Director-General of Oyo State Agribusiness Development Agency (OYSADA), Dr Debo Akande has maintained that the state will soon begin to generate about one billion naira as revenue annually from agribusiness.

Akande, who made this disclosure on Sunday while playing host to journalists in Ibadan at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) to brief newsmen on government activities through the agency, added that Oyo State will become one of the best agribusiness hubs in Nigeria with the huge investment and vision for agribusiness development under the ‘Seyi Makinde led administration.

He disclosed that no fewer than 600 out of the 3,300 youth from Oyo State, who were beneficiaries of the Nasarawa Agribusiness training in 2022 have been empowered and engaged in both crop and animal farming by the state government under different programmes including Oyo-Cares project.

Akande noted that it was the foresight of the Governor Makinde led government that has placed Oyo State a step ahead of others on agribusiness development including the African Development Bank (AfDB), leading to the establishment of Agricultural free trade zone in parts of Africa and Nigeria.

He added that agribusiness development project that AfDB is implementing at a continental level is also what Oyo State was already implementing at Fashola and Awe before the AfDB even started.

“I just got back from Zambia under the auspices of the Zambia, Uganda, Tanzania trip. I was dumbfounded with what I saw in terms of modern agricultural practice. What we thought we’re doing now is enmass in all those places. You see farm estates, farm hubs all over the place, in fact I felt embarrassed that we’re just starting this our own.

“This is private sector driven and when the governor said private sector involvement is over 70 percent, he wasn’t just saying it, he said it because of what he has seen and a trip to Fashola will show you the magnitude of what this private sector is already doing there. These people don’t even know the amount of revenue we are already generating in millions from Fashola even when we’ve not even fully started.

“By the end of next year I don’t expect anything less than one billion naira worth of revenue generated for Oyo State with what is already on ground. The governor is a very prudent and conservative person who has done exceptionally well to provide ideas that will make Oyo truly great. People just need to be patient to see the outcome of all these things, which is even global that we’re just keying into.

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“I mean, if this is not global why would the African Development Bank be spending over one billion dollars to start what they call strategic agro-processing zones? exactly what we’re already doing at Fashola. Why would they be doing that across the whole of Africa? So, we’ve actually preempted what would be the global trend and we’ve started before them even the African Development Bank has been there, and by virtue of what we did at Fashola, is the reason they’re giving us another forty million dollars to start at Ijaye.

“Oyo is the only state in the whole of the south west that has been accorded respect by World Bank to join what they call L-Press Project, that’s another forty million dollars. We held the launching in Abuja and Oyo State was there, it’s a public knowledge. Oyo State is not just becoming the darling of everybody it is because we have a governor who has a vision who is following through what is the global trend in international best practice in agricultural development and that has started yielding results.

“Let me say one thing here, if we built one of this and it generated one billion and then it has a revenue pipeline for twenty years because that’s what we’re doing. People occupying the place (the big agricultural investors) are paying a certain amount of money for the lease of over twenty year period that means we already have an income stream for Oyo State for the next twenty years. Now let’s have ten of this across the state over same period and know the true meaning of revenue from agriculture.

“And if I can be generating one billion every year from agribusiness alone for the state for the next ten years, because if we keep on building new ones through private sector driven, we will, and I’m not even talking about the volume of employment that will be generated through our expanded agribusiness value chain but the volume of crop production and livestock that will be coming out of Oyo State. While that is being put in place we must design a new sustainable system that will be able to cater for us as a people and that can add to our economic growth. That’s all we’re doing,” Akande explained.

Speaking further, Akande, who showed newsmen an organisational structure of OYSADA, said management staff of the agency are not employees of the state and do not draw operational funds including salaries and other benefits from the state coffers. He said IITA, whose funds is being solely managed by itself, is responsible for the funding of OYSADA’s management staff, contrary to the misinformation being peddled by those he described as disgruntled political farmers.

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“OYSADA has statutory power to even recruit more staff for its operations but for funds not being in place, we decided to just make do with just two, and those are the names being mischievously labelled as the cabals, and as you can all see, these people who have continued to give their blood and sweat to ensure this project becomes a huge success do not even receive a kobo from the purse of Oyo State government but let’s leave that aside,” Akande added.

He disclosed further that contrary to what was described as malicious and mischievous peddling of false information by some enemies of the state about a purported amount of money running into billions being allegedly squandered, OYSADA under his leadership has not received any funds to the tune of even a billion naira since its inception till date and is largely funded by IITA and other development partners, not by Oyo State government.

“What has been spent on YEAP from inception till date is not even up to one billion so, there’s no billion anywhere. 99.9 percent of the money that has been spent on YEAP project because of margin of errors, not one Kobo of the 99.9 percent went through OYSADA. So, how can anybody allege Akande of what did not even go through me? And that 99.9 percent would be the money spent on the training of YEAP beneficiaries at Nasarawa, and it was channeled directly through the ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters.” Akande disclosed.

He described as unfortunate, that some ‘political farmers’ who have for many years frustrated and sabotaged successive government’s efforts and investments in the agricultural sector would still remain hellbent on frustrating efforts of the ’Seyi Makinde led government for selfish and pecuniary gains despite the unprecedented achievements already being recorded in terms of revenue, economic expansion, and employment generation.

When asked what the agency is doing to fully carry local farmers along in new agribusiness development agenda, Akande maintained that, contrary to the notion that smallholder farmers were now at the mercy of big players, the biggest beneficiaries of Oyo State Agribusiness Development Agency would be the smallholder farmers who have for many years suffered the challenge of having the right market, farm inputs, modern techniques and tools for bumper produce as well as expanded agribusiness value chain which the big players are already creating and will lead to a revolving wealth within the agricultural sector.

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Speaking on criticisms that have continued to trail OYSADA as an agency of government Akande said, “His Excellency, the Governor, has adequately and repeatedly responded to those detractors when he visited Fashola farm recently and met some of these youths there. He said it publicly that the state has not given OYSADA funds to start the entrepreneurship aspect of this project. The governor has said it a number of times and I don’t know how else they want him to say it but the only support that came from the state to Fashola was through the Oyo-Cares project where they gave us fertilizers, cassava stems and others like that for all those youths to support what they’re doing.

“Again, I need to let you know that what has been expended in Awe farm is the solar that was built in that place and the fencing that they are trying to do, and the records are there in public for anyone to see. The solar light there was channeled through the Ministry of Energy while the fence was channeled through the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. The entire selection process of the 3,300 youths for the Nasarawa training was carried out and supervised by the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters in collaboration with the 33 local government executive chairmen.

“Another thing to clarify is that OYSADA has not done one single project at Awe farm, and the state has not even expended any money on construction of any building structure because I heard, oh! wind removed the whatever there. So, whatever wind has removed are from the buildings already built many years ago. The state hasn’t spent anything on that but it is part of what is expected to be done under Omituntun 2.0.

“So, no funds has passed through OYSADA to Awe. Again, it was my ingenious or innovation that made me brought in IITA to start implementing projects within that particular location and every single fund that has been expended there for training of youth and other forms of empowerments in that particular location were IITA money and I’m not the one managing IITA funds,” The OYSADA boss concluded.

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