“The Oyo State Government has called on landowners to release their idle lands to investors for cultivation so as to boost the state’s agricultural development.”- The Nation
Prince Oyewole Oyewunmi, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development, made the call a news conference in Ibadan on Wednesday.
Gov. Abiola Ajimobi has repeatedly claimed that the major thrust of his administration’s economic policy was the exploitation of the potential of the agriculture sector to boost the state’s economy.
“The state government places a high premium on agriculture, which has now become a national issue nowadays as a result of the fall in the price of crude oil.
“As a result of the intensive engagement of our communities, we have realised that agriculture is the bedrock and foundation of the state’s economy,’’ he once said.
Oyewunmi said that the state had over 2.5 million hectares of arable land that were suitable for agriculture, adding the state also grew a variety of crops that could be cultivated in all vegetational belts within the tropics.
He, however, said that the state had been having some difficulties in making land available for farmers, entrepreneurs and investors who were willing to invest in agriculture on a commercial basis.
The commissioner said that the government has launched an agenda tagged “Zero Tolerance for Idle Agricultural Land’’, having discovered that there were lots of idle lands in the rural areas across the state.
“The state government is not interested in taking over the idle lands across the state but wishes to encourage landowners in the state to willingly release such lands to investors.
“Releasing idle lands to investors who are ready to invest in mechanised agriculture on a large-scale basis would help boost the state’s economy.
“We are not saying that the landowners should release their lands for free, they should release the lands on agreed terms, while government will serve as the facilitator,’’ he said.
Oyewunmi proposed that the landowners could release the lands on partnership agreements with the potential investors, adding that they could let, lease and collect royalties on the lands or opt for outright sales.
He reiterated that increased investments in agriculture would boost the state’s economy and create employment for its citizens.
He urged the landowners to engage in outgrower schemes, adding that they could do this via partnership agreements with farmers and off-takers.
Oyewunmi said that the farmers would be able to produce crops that would be bought by off-takers at prevailing market prices.
He, however, said that the proposals were some of the recommendations made in the report of a committee set up by governor to look into the issue.
Source: The Nation