By Olubukola Aiyedogbon
The Kwara Governor, Malam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has launched a 10-year Agricultural Transformation Plan, designed to make Kwara food sufficient by 2030.
“The essence of this document is to ensure food security, attract investments to the sector, create jobs, reduce poverty, and create inclusive growth by giving equal opportunities for women and girls to also benefit from everything that this plan has to offer.
“This week is one of the most exciting weeks, because I met the French Ambassador to Nigeria who has agreed to send a team to Kwara state. He is particularly interested in the agricultural sector, most especially the livestock sector”, he said at the inauguration in Ilorin.
AbdulRazaq said that the plan was hinged on six pillars: crop production, finance, livestock, access to market, value chain, and cross-cutting programmes, in addition to detailed monitoring and evaluation mechanisms, to constantly interrogate the journey, while attention is also paid to sustainability.
The Governor said: “the document comes with measurable milestones to ensure faithful implementations by all the stakeholders.
“It is a 10-year plan which is based on verifiable data gathered from field research and extensive consultations with various stakeholders and experts in the sector.
“The plan spells out the opportunities and challenges in the agricultural sector in the state, and identifies the six pillars that are critical to the success of the plan”.
The Governor also said that he was working on an agreement with the Lagos state government on food production, adding that Kwara will invest N2bn in the agricultural sector, in partnership with the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).
“This will be anchored by a department at Kwara State University, Malette, which will be at Ilesha Baruba. This administration will conclude the construction of the campus.
“The campus has extensive land which I have visited, so NEPAD is investing in Kwara. I am also the chairman of the programme’s steering committee. It will make Kwara’s agriculture programme a huge success.
“I thank all the stakeholders, our partners and our team, for the success of this work. However, the most challenging part is ensuring successful implementation of the plan to make Kwara food sufficient by 2030.
“This is achievable if everyone plays their part. As an administration, we will mobilise every resource in support of this dream”, AbdulRazaq said.
Speaker of the Kwara State House of Assembly, Yakubu Salihu noted that the state administration was making efforts to improve rural road infrastructure, for easy movement of farm produce.
“This plan, if well implemented, will improve the state’s internally generated revenue, which is very important. With the Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project (RAAMP), about 700kms will be taken care of and the agricultural transformation plan will be a plus to us all in the state”, he said.
The Technical Assistant to the Governor on Agriculture, AbdulQowiy Olododo, explained that the plan was unique and comprehensive, as it captured both the enormous potentials in the sector as well as the actionable steps needed to harness such potentials and turn them into tangible benefits for all.
“In line with the vision of the Governor, this transformation plan has been designed to deliver unending benefits to the people of Kwara.
“The benefits include, but are not limited to, massive decent job creation for women and youths, improved nutrition, availability and affordability of quality food, rural infrastructure development, improved standard of living and economic growth”, he said.
The state Chairman of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Mr Muhammad Aboki, commended the AbdulRazaq-led administration for consulting and involving farmers in the plan and for developing the sector to attain food security.
“The governor’s words can be taken to the bank. We have absolute confidence in your leadership because of what you have demonstrated, not only in agriculture but in all spheres of economy in the state.
“All farmers in Kwara are following the trend of events and are very happy with your laudable programmes and projects”, the chairman said. (NAN)