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•••Charges Students To Tap Into Potentials Of Agribusiness Value Chain


The Director General of Oyo State Agribusiness Development Agency (OYSADA) Dr. Debo Akande has expressed his happiness and satisfaction over the ongoing developmental projects at the Fasola Agribusiness Industrial Hub, and the positive impacts is bringing to the state, stressing that the hub has now become a tourist destinations for intending foreign and indigenous investors, as well as a learning center for students of both tertiary institutions and secondary schools across the country.

The OYSADA Director General made this known while receiving the former Minister of Food and Agriculture Republic of Ghana, Hon Muhammed Muniru Limuna who led members of his entourage to Fasola agribusiness industrial hub for on-the-spot assessment with the intention of partnering with Oyo state in sustaining food security across West Africa and Africa at large.

Other members of the Ghanian entourage include Eline Mugistho, Baba Murtala,Osman Pumpteh, Sena Mewr, Chinclast Mutagbe.

Dr. Debo Akande also conducted no fewer than 210 final year students of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso (LAUTECH) who were on practical exploit round the facilities situated inside the Fasola agribusiness industrial hub.

The 500 level students of Crop and Environmental Protection of faculty of Agriculture Sciences of LAUTECH were led to the agribusiness industrial hub by their Lecturer, Prof. Adesina Gabriel Olulakin, (the team lead), Professor Biodun Olaniya(HOD) among others could not hide their joy as they were exposed to facilities and the realities of modern ways of practicing agriculture which is different to the theoretical aspects they were taught within the walls of their classes.

Addressing journalists shortly after the field trip, Dr. Debo Akande noted that Fasola agribusiness industrial hub is now serving as a learning and knowledge center for students of both tertiary institutions and secondary schools, a tourist destination for both indigenous and foreign intending investors, aside from the vision and primary objective of the state Governor, Engr Seyi Makinde which is to ensure food sufficiency as well increase the outputs of produce of local farmers across all the geo political zones of the state.

Akande said, “This is part of the what the Excellency, Governor Seyi Makinde have in mind when he conceptualized the idea of revamping this Fasola agribusiness industrial hub and other agribusiness hub in all regions of the state, the hubs are created to increase of food production in the state, which we have started seeing.”

“The hubs are also there to support the small holders farmers that are around these hubs and for it to serve as center of excellence for learning, knowledge and for tourists and investors to see, and today what we’ve seen here is that we have LAUTECH Students of agriculture that came here to learn, and they’re here to learn what is the modern approach in agriculture and it can’t be better than this, where those young people see in practical forms what are the modern technology currently being use and they are able to see all the practical forms of modern ways of agriculture on the field, they’re able to see new varieties of seeds, cassava, without necessarily need to go to IITA, coming into the hub that the government has built, for me this is great, for them not to have traveled to Ibadan to see new varieties of seeds but coming here, for me that is really amazing, that would have dropped ideas on their minds, they saw the ranches, they saw hundreds of cattle, they saw cross breeding, artificial insemination, they saw green houses, pasture development, ancillary infrastructures, they now have understanding what development of infrastructures means to agricultural transformation.”

“So, these are amazing things that these young people have seen and these are the University graduates that will be leaders of today and tomorrow, so I’m really glad and excited that the state governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde has provided this hub for another purpose which is a center of learning and knowledge purposes.” Akande said.

While speaking on the visit of the former Ghanian Minister, OYSADA DG said, “I’m glad that our second visitor spoke directly by himself about what he has seen here in Fasola agribusiness industrial hub, he kept on saying WAO each time we move around the facilities, he said that if he had known this before he became a minister, something like this could have been a major project for him, this is a plus for us in this state. That means Fasola is now a learning point for them, as a minister of food and agriculture in Ghana along with many members of his team, that came here at the auspices of the former President of Ghana and they’ve seen things for themselves and the concept they will be building in Ghana going forward, honestly it is a plus for us, and it really shows we are leading when it comes to agribusiness in the country.”

Dr. Debo Akande while addressing the students at the hub urged them to tap.into potentials of agribusiness and it’s value chain, he advised them to see agriculture as a lifetime business.

He said, “Agriculture is practical, they’ve come to see things for themselves, they’ve seen what mechanized farming is all about, we are trying to develop a place where we keep equipments for mechanization where they can see what it is and how it has evolved over the time, they’ve seen mechanization, they’ve seen modern approach of agriculture, they’ve seen how to do agriculture that not just for cutlasses and hoes, they’ve seen the technology in agriculture, how you can do agritech, they’ve seen how they can multiply food within a short space of land and they’ve seen what it means to invest in agriculture, they’ve seen private sector driven agriculture and they’ve seen what the Excellency is doing to create an enabling environment for private investors in agriculture.”

“So my charge to them is that they need to understand that agriculture is not necessary mean that they need plenty of land, there are so many things that could be done, I’m an advocate of urban agriculture or homestead where you can have your backyard for agriculture activities, have said it severally on many occasions that backyard agriculture can provide things you needs for you, you don’t really need much to start that, you can do vegetable production at the back of your home, you don’t need massive land for that, they can start from there, they can start from livestock as well at their backyard, snailery, even production of seed materials, these are the kind of things they’ve seen and I believe they’ve learnt one or two things that can make them a great farmers in the future.”

In his words, the former Minister of Food and Agriculture Republic of Ghana, Hon Muhammed Muniru Limuna commended Governor Makinde for revamping Fasola agribusiness industrial hub and also for creating a conducive environment for agribusiness investors at the hub, he noted that the governor has done well by resuscitating Fasola farm settlement that was conceptualized by the late Sage Chief Obafemi Awolowo which has been moribund for over thirty years.

While speaking on the essence of the trip, the ex-Minister said, “The essence of this trip is we want to have partnership with IITA and other partners and also to look at some the challenges also face in agriculture, and we call on IITA to be able to discuss all those challenges and they also take us to their partners they work with so that we can see for ourselves, it is not a theoretical trip it’s a practical trip, we believe that some of the questions that were lingering in our minds for the past two days, we have actually seen them.”

“We got here on Saturday, Sunday we were within the IITA, we went round the field of trial for soya bean, we saw the maize trail, the African rice, and we also toured the forest and the environment of IITA, because the environment also speaks for itself, yesterday we were with the former President Olusegun Obasanjo, we call on him at his residence and we were fortunate we met him at his farm where we look at his cassava cultivation, we are really impressed and excited, sometimes we think the answers are very far in Europe or American but the answers are just with your own senior brother behind you, so our coming here has opened our eyes because we want to move our ways from far we see agriculture as development, now we want to see agriculture as business and when we see it as business it will attract the younger ones, you will realize that people always take agriculture serious when they go on retirement but is not the case, we want to move on, so want to take agriculture from land preparation to the table, that is the value chain, we must made sure we want to satisfy all those things, so if you go and pick something from Europe the climate is not the same as Ghana, but whatever happens in Nigeria it will surely happen in Ghana because we are the same, it is just artificial boundaries that separated us, so when we had interaction with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), the word tropical is key to us and I think we haven’t regretted it, during our stay here we’ve met wonderful team, we’ve seen wonderful things and wonderful people, and I think our collaboration will take us far.”

“For us to turn around African Economy our focus must be in agriculture, everything that you do, if you get agriculture right everything will be okay for us in Africa, and that’s why I said initially we saw agriculture as public good, we saw it as developmental, so we didn’t put that aspect of business and that’s why we need to take it seriously to be able to take it to another level of agribusiness and I believe that when we invest in that things will start change for better for us, the only thing is that the existing government must create an enabling environment to allow the private sectors to come in and for us to meet our challenges in terms of food security and other issues in agriculture.”

“With the few things have seen here today at Fasola Agribusiness Industrial Hub, I can boldly say that, I’m amazed, Oyo state has done greatly in terms of agriculture and agribusiness, and I will have to come back and have enough time to share here in order to see what we can do together, because I’m preparing myself in government again, because when you’re in government there are lots of things you don’t see, if I have come here as a serving Minister, they will have picked me from Abuja and put me in a big hotel in town so at the end of the day you don’t get see what you really have to see, and now that have come back home and have sat down to look at the mistakes and some challenges that I wasn’t able to fix when I was in office, now I’m a free man, I worked around and I can see the things practically, agriculture should not be done in hotels it should be done in the field.” Munir said.

In his words, the team lead of LAUTECH for the trip, Prof. Gabriel Olulakin lauded Governor Seyi Makinde for putting up up Fasola Agribusiness Industrial Hub which according to him is serving the state at different levels.

He said, “every year when our students get to their final year which is 500 level there is always a practical course that all of them must get involved in, and these practical courses are mandatory for them to go outside the University environment to see the people that are involved in agro allied industry, so they can gain experience from them, and also looking at the impact of what they’re doing on the environment, because this cause is partly majorly on environmental issues, to see the impact assessment of what they’re doing.”

“As we all known that whatever we are doing have a way of impacting in our lives as a human beings, so when the students come out like this they will see what is being done in the practical ways, what they’ve been taught in the theoretical ways at the University. So today we’ve been moving from one place to the other in this hub, and they’ve been able to see that farming is beyond hoes and cutlasses, it entails the use of modern equipments, farming is a business, is more than just a passion, it is a passion that must bring profits and all these they have seen because they’ve encountered so many investors in this hub, those that invested in crops production and those that have invested in animal production, even those that invested in post allied situations whereby their processes add values to what they’re producing on the farm, and this will go a long way to encourage these young minds to take interest in farming.”

“These students are the hope of tomorrow, they’re the ones that will take the responsibility from us, so if we are not able to show them the ways things are being done in other part of the world there might be gap in their learning process and they may not see any reason for them to go into farming despite the fact that they graduated as a student of agriculture, so it’s important for them to come to a place like this, this experience will go a long way for many of them to see beyond the class, to see that this is really a multi million naira investment that they can channel all their efforts to it in their future and with the experience of the Director General of OYSADA, Dr Debo Akande who have been taking them round the facilities and the experience of those people that are managing these place who have been able to explain many things to them as regards agribusiness and the goal of the governor to empower the youth because this is one of the ways the youths in this generation can be employed, this is one of the ways they can come into the agribusiness factory that everybody is running away from, because except you know the importance of a something you may not really want to stake your life into it, so I think this is a very good opportunity for them.”

“This will definitely change their ways of thinking as regards agriculture, you can see they’re all exited, they asked questions, and they’re so happy coming here, that shows that we are creating a path way for them to follow, so like I said earlier farming is beyond the use of hoes and cutlasses, if we said the ways our parents are doing farming is the same way that we are going to be doing it, nobody will be interested in farming, but here they’ve seen agricultural machinery, they’ve seen a lifting, that you can go to a green houses agriculture that you don’t really need to do any hard work but working with machines, definitely is something that will change their mindsets, it’s a paradigm sift for them, definitely as a person I really appreciate governor Makinde for this initiative because it is going to impact lives of our students and others positively, this will go a long way in teaching the students more than what we’ve been teaching them in class, seeing it in practical form will go a long way to affect their future.”

“So, my charge to them is that they should maximize the opportunity they have, it’s like somebody opening a road for you to pass, you’re the one that will maintain that road, the one that we’ve done for them today is like sowing a seed into their sub conscious minds, so when they allow the seed to thrive and germinate, they can work with it, it’s like a vision. We are giving them a vision, and just like the word of God that if you’re given a vision, you must run with it, I believe this will go a long way to affect their aspiration and their future.” Professor Gabriel said.

Speaking on behalf of the students, Presley Osagie said “This is beyond what we’ve been taught in class, and all the small farms we’ve been to, this is a big privilege for us, I learnt that we are the first tertiary institution to be here, so I must say it’s a big privilege for us, myself and my other classmates are very excited to be here, we’ve learned one or two things, we really appreciate the state government for providing this kind of conducive environment for agribusiness investors and this is also serving us the students as a learning center, governor Seyi Makinde has really done well for this initiative, we’ve been to a lot of places, we started from the casava farm and we were shown various types of cassava varieties we have, it is a wide farm, we’ve also been to dairy farms where the investors are using the advanced technology to rear their animals and collect raw milk, we’ve also visited the green houses, where vegetables are being processed in large quantities with the use of modern equipments, now we’ve seen that agriculture is beyond what we are seeing in Nigeria, so with what we’ve seen, we are trying to go into mechanized farming and to also assist the next generation to have a view that agriculture is a huge investment they can go into.”

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