The Kwara state government has stated that it is committed to impacting knowledge on modernised agricultural best practices in its bid to ensure that more commercial farmers are produced by the state.
The Secretary to the State Government, (SSG), Alhaji Sola Isiaka Gold, said in his address at a workshop organised by the Integrated Youth Training Farm Centre, Malete held at the Kwara Agro Mall in Ilorin.
The SSG who noted that farming had become a global trend , explained that the Kwara State Government, being a government with foresight, had keyed into making agriculture a viable alternative to oil more than a decade ago. He stated that this, among other things, led to the emergence of the New Nigeria (Zimbabwean) Farmers at Shonga which later the establishment of the Integrated Youth training Farm Centre at Malete in Moro LGA
The SSG who was represented at the occasion by Alhaji Abdulganiy Opeloyeru, revealed that, “The youth integrated training farm center, Malete is one of the best things to happen to Kwara state. Today, we can pride ourselves of a highly significant number of young commercial farmers doing the state proud in their different fields.”
According to Alhaji Isiaka Gold, “Today’s workshop shows that the center is not selfish but ready to share from its wealth of experience with other farmers out there. He therefore enjoined the participants to take advantage of this workshop to learn new farming techniques that could increase yield, expand output, increase the income of farmers, ensure food products are available in abundance for stable prices and help bring our farmers into prominence.
“In an era where diversification of the economy is the sing song of the Federal Government and the governed, there is need to focus more on agriculture, which presently engages the highest number of our people for food production. It is through workshops of this nature that we can boost agriculture and bring the people out of the woods.”
The Special adviser to the state governor on Agriculture and Rural Water Support Services, Mr. Anu Ibiwoye who was also speaking during the programme, noted that the sensitisation programme being done was long overdue. He explained that the training institute had achieved a lot particularly with training of Kwara State indigenous Youth since its inception in 2005.
Ibiwoye who said that the training institute had impacted many young people in the state revealed that, “a total of about 568 young people have been trained so far through the Integrated Youth Training Farm Centrein Malete and a lot of them have been empowered and are now gainfully employed in agriculture.”
While calling on everybody to tap into this golden opportunity the Special Adviser stressed that, “Agriculture is a business for everybody and that is why we are encouraging everybody to come on board. Civil servants, both retired and serving, individuals and cooperatives we want everybody to come on board and participate because there are so many opportunities in agriculture.
“Agriculture is knowledge driven and information driven. It is about timeliness, about best practices and about opportunities. Today we are talking about zero waste in agriculture, we are talking about been able to do forward and backward integration in agriculture. All these help to reduce cost in production sometimes up to 40%, some up to 60% and when people know all of these things it makes farming more interesting, easier and more profitable for them so I think the programme could not have come at a better time.”, the Acting Farm Manager of the Integrated Youth Training Farm , Mr. Daromosu Waheed Adewale explained that the essence of the training is to sensitize the people on new remolded technologies that are now available at Malete.
Adewale said the training centre was concerned with maximising land for maximum output. , “Farming has gone beyond large acreage, we are more concerned on maximizing the little land we have. Today, You can see a Hausa man farming on a 280 by 10 land year in year out and he will be making profits. So we are looking out how they are making it. It is what we give into the land that you get back. If you manage your land very well you will get very good results.” Agriculture is now geared towards ensuring maximum yield from farming activities.