The federal government, through its Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, FMARD has concluded arrangements to clear 400 hectares of farmlands at Iyemero Ekiti axis of the State’s agricultural processing zone as part of its intervention programmes code-named ‘Agriculture Jobs Plan’.
The information was disclosed at a meeting of the State Coordinator of the FMARD, Mr Olufemi Daramola with the Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, Dr Olabode Adetoyi in his office in Ado Ekiti.
The state coordinator said that federal government was not unmindful of the huge capital involved in land clearing and preparation activities, which has been responsible for the high cost of agricultural production, saying that the 400 hectares of land would be cleared and prepared to the point of planting before handing over to the state government for allocation to end-users.
Mr Daramola who hinted that the process for the contract award of the project was ongoing, also revealed that another intervention programme to combat environmental degradation has also been proposed in the zone on a 15 hectares piece of land.
Speaking elaborately on the environmental degradation programme tagged ‘Agro-forestry and Regenerative Agriculture of the FMARD, the Project Consultant, who is the former Vice-Chancellor of Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti, Prof Oladipo Aina, said the project was aimed at protecting the ecosystem and to control the depletion of the aerospace challenges caused by land clearing and tree felling for agricultural activities in the state.
Prof Aina explained further that the 15 hectares agroforestry project is a pilot and demonstration project designed to plant special species of shrubs that could be easily adopted by farmers across the state.
The university don said that the programme would involve innovative technology that could be assimilated by farmers through training and nursing of seedlings that would help them develop their private individual forest.
He observed that the rate at which forests are giving way to commercial Agriculture, industrial and residential structures was devastating and could lead to serious ecological problems in the future if not properly addressed by tree planting.
Prof. Aina called on the government of Ekiti State to cooperate with the FMARD to achieve forestry regeneration.
Responding, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, Dr Olabode Adetoyi commended the FMARD for the 2 projects earmarked for the state.
Dr Adetoyi who remarked that the state has expended about 3 billion naira on land clearing for agricultural purposes in the last 2 years, added that the intervention of the Federal government in the process would be a great relief as it will give room for more farmers to participate in the agricultural revolution of Dr Kayode Fayemi’s administration.
The Commissioner stressed the importance of Agro-forestry and Regenerative Agriculture as a panacea to ecosystem depletion and forest degeneration and gave the assurance that the state would key into the two intervention programmes.
He said that the ministry would continue to sensitize the youths to see Agriculture as a lucrative pursuit that should be embraced by all, not minding their background.
According to the Commissioner, the state should be able to produce for its internal consumption and export the excesses through the cargo airport under construction in the state capital, saying that Ekiti State must get it right this time by moving away from an agrarian economy to an agro-industrial economy that would be self-dependent in agricultural production.
Dr Adetoyi, however, directed his Permanent Secretary, Engr Olugbenga Odesanmi to constitute a team that would lead the visitors to the agricultural processing zone for the handing over of the required land for both projects.