Building a sustainable and resilient agricultural future in the midst of imminent challenges, weaknesses and threats is one of the most audacious steps that will be undertaken in the right direction. It is quite conspicuous the role that agriculture plays in the socio-economic development of any state or nation. The multi-faceted contributions of agriculture to all pillars of sustainable development within the state cannot be overemphasized.
Oyo state, in particular, has come to realize a dire need to develop workable agricultural systems. This is in view of the characteristics of the diverse nature of the system including livestock, climates, crops, soils, technology, management, etc. Agriculture faces many challenges in our clime and this had made it more difficult to achieve its primary objective – feeding its populace. With over 7 million inhabitants in the state, a major daunting task ahead is to improve the economy of the state. This can be achieved by primarily reducing hunger and unless hunger is reduced, progress in cutting poverty is bound to be slow and consequently other development goals will not be comprehensively achieved.
Our resources to a large extent can satisfactorily achieve this objective but we need to establish strategies and models to shape the future where agriculture drives prosperity and improve the rural economy.
Major elements of a sustainable agricultural development envisioned will include:
- Shifts towards safer and healthier diets for our people.
- Ensuring the supply of safe, nutritious food to all through increasing agricultural productivity on existing crop and pasture land and making it more resilient to climatic extremes as being experienced more prominently in some parts of the state.
- Reduction of food loss and waste.
- New visions and business models for smallholder agriculture and rural development that will create economic and job opportunities and make rural areas more attractive places to live.
- Empowering women along the value chain as a result of the critical role they play.
- Coherent policies at all levels that will stimulate behavior change; align all actors and provide for an all-inclusive growth.
- Monitoring agriculture and food systems at unprecedented level of details.
It is with so much intensity that we invite partners and investors into the pool of opportunities and wealth agriculture will bring to the state. A convenient forum that is expected to kick-start the process will be at the Maiden Edition of the Oyo State International Business Summit. It is going to be a critical point for the future of agriculture in the state.
We envision an agro-future where:
- there is zero hunger; reduced poverty with rural producing communities increasingly becoming resilient to drought and climate change.
- technology and technological developments are completely utilized for research, production, value addition, marketing and distribution where products from the state can conveniently compete on the national and international scale.
- farming becomes so attractive and rewarding for any player at every scale where young graduates become farmers by choice not because they are left behind.
- post-harvest and food loss becomes generally low with realistic conversion ratios for our produce from farm to fork with timely delivery and minimal supply chain time-lag of farm produce and products.
- the entire agri-food systems are optimized and well-coordinated.
- migration to the city is reduced and younger generation can demonstrate and dream big because of reformed agricultural systems.
- precision agriculture farming upholds the principles of farming and agriculture and produces have readily available off-takers who complimentarily create enabling food systems.
- biological control of weeds, pests and diseases create a more climate friendly solutions rather than the indiscriminate use of inorganic inputs.
- an all-inclusive and participatory growth is enhanced in the agricultural sector through worthwhile partnerships to ensure value and alignment of priorities.
- significant reservoir of technologies, research, knowledge, investments, partnerships and practice will produce a rewarding outcome of an agricultural inclusion and transformation.
- facilitating the diversification of off-farm income sources for rural people that will play a significant role in achieving resilience and food security for rural families which can be achieved by the establishment of small scale processing industries in rural areas that could contribute to reduced losses, increased food quality and reduction of drudgery.
Consequent upon these, we welcome all investors, partners, intending investors and intending partners to collaborate with us as we execute our roll-out plans in stages and phases.