Experts have called on the Kwara state Governor-Elect to emulate Sir Ahmadu Bello, Awolowo and other past leaders of Nigeria in piloting the affairs of the state.
This is as they noted that the state can become Nigeria’s Agric hub if the new administration invests in infrastructure, irrigation and proper harnessing of the agricultural value chain.
Speaking at the opening of a two-day Focused Workshop organised by the Kwara Transition Committee recently set up by the Governor-elect AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, the experts said the state has the potential to be food and nutrition-secure if it puts the right measures in place.
The workshop themed: Realising the agricultural potentials of Kwara State – the Value Chain Approach, the workshop drew experts from across the country who commended AbdulRazaq for seeking practical answers to how the state can harness its agric potentials, generate employment and generate funds for development.
“Kwara has good volume of surface and underground water. But the irrigation facilities are just not there. Once rain ceases, there is a problem. No country in the world develops from rain-fed agriculture.
Kwara must invest in irrigation to allow for all-year-round farming,” said Mr Kingley Olurinde, an agricultural economist from the Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute (ARMTI), Ilorin said.
Olurinde said the new government must also invest in rural roads, schools, healthcare centres, and micro credit scheme to stimulate interest in farming and make the people truly productive.
Another agricultural expert from the University of Ilorin, Dr Sam Okunade, said the workshop is a practical demonstration of AbdulRazaq’s interest in truly harnessing the state’s agricultural potentials.
Okunade tasked the new government to study how the regional governments of Obafemi Awolowo, Ahmadu Bello and Michael Okpara developed their regions with strict development of the agricultural value chains.
He urged the government to establish a scheme with a focus to train, fund and empower young graduates to farm as a deliberate way of tackling unemployment.
He also called for law reforms, such as the land tenure system, to make access to land easy for prospective commercial farmers.