HarmonyTimes had an exclusive interview with Mr. Abdulquawiyy Olododo, the Technical Assisstant to the Kwara State Governor on Agriculture where he discussed extensively how the Kwara State Government is transforming the Agric sector in the state. The unassuming aide also harped on the alleged tractorization scandal among other highlights.
HarmonyTimes: Can we meet you and get a brief about your office?
TA: I’m Abdulquawiy Olododo, the Technical Assistant on Agriculture to the Kwara State Governor. My office is basically saddled with the responsibility to provide His Excellency with assistance on all Agricultural matters, program design, policy formulation that will stir growth and development across the value chains of Agriculture where Kwara State has comparative advantages.
HarmonyTimes: The Administration of Governor Abdulrahman AbdulRazaq promised to ensure he develops the agricultural potential of the state. How far has the administration gone in this regard?
TA: The Administration of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq is revolutionizing Agricultural sector in Kwara state by taking a holistic steps to revamp the entire sector so to be harness its enormous potentials, that’s why a transformation plan was developed for the Agricultural sector to spur economic development in the State, it’s the road map upon which His objectives will be achieved. In the same vein as the transformation plan is ongoing, the administration this year has supported over 5,000 small holder farmers in the state get cheap access to mechanization to boost their productivity, have supported over 3,000 rice farmers in the state with subsidized inputs even cheaper than what the federal government has provided, access to market for the produce of the farmers have also been ascertained, the National Livestock transformation program of the Federal government is there as well which the state has keyed into as one of the pilot states in the country, and enumeration of farmers are ongoing to ensure they benefit from the program, all these things will spur development in the sector/state.
HarmonyTimes: You will agree with me that the concept of agriculture and the system involved has evolved over the years with new demands, how is the agricultural space in the state prepared for this?
TA: The state is adequately prepared towards achieving precision farming, when we talk about technology in agric, it can be relative as it needs to be tailored to the specifications and realities on ground, with our plan, the state is making adequate provision to promote the use of technology to achieve precision farming and deliver on the mission to drive our subsistence mode of agriculture to a commercial one.
HarmonyTimes: The FG recently banned the importation of Maize and since then, poultry farmers are having tough times considering the current price of poultry feeds. The above has x-rayed the huge gap and exposed our level of complicit as a people, Do we have a goldmine we can tap from and what are the plans to encourage farmers in this regard.
TA: This literally happened during the banned on rice importation as well few years back, after a little while, are we not gradually seeing the difference in the country in terms of our production? It’s only an opportunity for us to grow and let new farmers capitalize on the opportunity that has been presented.
HarmonyTimes: Before now, Agricultural Extension officers are present in virtually all local areas in state but in recent times, they are currently nonexistent and the implications, far reaching. Should Kwarans expect a return to the “good old days” and how does the government intend to embark on extension services in all areas.
TA: To achieve great fits in the sector, we know we need the extension agents to do this, we have the numbers on ground, the plan is to embark on comprehensive capacity building for our extension staffs so as to meet up with the needs, expectations of our farmers on the field. The good old days are here already.
HarmonyTimes: Some days ago, you had representatives of Friesland Campina in your office bothering on establishment of cluster milk collection points in the state. Are the relevant stakeholders been carried along in the state and how soon should we expect results?
TA: Yes, the General manager of FrieslandCampina WAMCO was in my office, we have been in talks to partner on the dairy value chain development of kwara state through their dairy development program, which is ongoing in a number of states across Nigeria. The model of WAMCO dairy development program involves every relevant stakeholder along the value chain. We shall be cutting tapes soon Insha’Allah.
HarmonyTimes: As the Technical Assistant to the Governor, what new thing have you brought on board to the Agriculture Sector in the State?
TA: My duty is to ensure the success of the aims and objectives of my principal for the agricultural sector in Kwara state, what I have brought on board is simply efficiency to getting things done and ensuring proper implementation of His Excellency’s program in the sector.
HarmonyTimes: The Animal Health Sector is quite crucial to food safety and security but unfortunately the sector appears neglected in the state. What is the plan of the State Government in repositioning the Animal Health Sector and Nationally, Much has been talked about with regards to Agribusiness alongside, the several value chain that exists but it appears Kwara state is impervious to this as there’s no roadmap to aid engagements in this regard.?
TA: When you get the Agricultural transformation plan which to be is published very soon, we can have this conversation again. You will understand where we are heading for with agriculture, agribusiness in Kwara state.
HarmonyTimes: Any plan by the state government to reduce the tax burdens on players in the Agric sector considering the impact of COVID-19 pandemic?
TA: I hope you realize taxation works differently when it comes to the agricultural sector; it’s not the same way with other sectors.
HarmonyTimes: A media outfit in Kwara state revealed allegedly, certain level of impropriety that greeted the rentage of Tractors by the state government that unfortunately raised questions in different quarters and it appears the last have not been heard since the state government haven’t responded to the allegations by the media outfit. Any position on this by the State government yet?
TA: Talking about tractorization, I have personally gone on air to address the issue several times, so I don’t understand what you mean by “the Government haven’t responded to the allegations” the media outfit raised a baseless allegation which they cant substantiate, they were only making screaming headlines, have you read anywhere the fraud really occurred in all of their published articles?
HarmonyTimes: What are the tasks ahead that will ensure a viable economy in the state?
TA: A lot of work still needs to be done and we need public private partnerships to drive our economy forward.
HarmonyTimes:As a young Kwaran and proven entrepreneur, what do you have for the youth hoping to venture into the agropreneurial space?
TA: They should know what they stand for and know what exactly their goals are before even starting, it’s very pertinent.146