The Kwara State Government is making concerted efforts to scale up the production of soya bean to meet up rising demands of the product at the export market.
The state commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muritala Olarewaju, disclosed this while apeaking at a workshop on the implementation of the one-state one-product (OSOP) value chain in strategic products of the zero-oil plan in Ilorin, yesterday.
NIGERIAN TRIBUNE reports that the Kwara State Government has identified gaps in the production of soya bean despite huge potentials of the product in the state.
The commissioner explained that the present administration under Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq had shown a remarkable determination to encourage farmers through the provision of high yield seedlings to genuine farmers to aid productivity.
Olarewaju, therefore, called on stakeholders in the agricultural value chain especially food production to join hands with the state government in its bid to lift the agricultural sub-sector of the state to an enviable height.
He also praised the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) for its roles at ensuring production of international standards and quality products for exportation and its achievements in diversifying the nation’s economy to non-oil sector.
In his Keynote address, the Director and Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Mr. Olusegun Awolowo, reminded participants that before the discovery of oil in 1957, agriculture was the mainstay of the Nigeria economy, accounted for 65 per cent of the nation GDP and provided employment to over 85 per cent of the population.
Awolowo, who spoke through Mr. Olu Ikulajolu, explained that the fortune of the country’s agriculture started dwindling in 1970s during the oil boom period that shifted the government’s attention to cheaper but very volatile source of revenue.
Due to the sharp drop in the contribution of the agriculture to the national GDP, according to him, the NEPC developed a game changer document tagged “the zero-oil plan” in 2015.
He explained that the initiative was developed as a strategy for boosting foreign exchange earnings through the non-oil sector in preparation of the country for an economy that would not only depend on crude oil for survival.
He added that prior to the initiative the NEPC had come with the One-State One-Product (OSOP) programme, saying that the concept was developed to ensure every state of the federation including Federal Capital Territory (FCT) focuses on at least one product to develop for export.
Awolowo disclosed that Kwara state had indicated soya beans and cashew as its main and alternate products and therefore sought the partnership of the state government and other stakeholders to develop the two products.
The Trade Promotion Advisor, NEPC Export Assistance Office, Ilorin, Mr. Akinwumi Ajayi had in his welcome address, said that the vision is to make the world a market place for Nigerian non-oil goods and services, saying that the mission is to spearhead the diversification of the Nigeria economy by expanding and increasing non-oil exports for sustainable and inclusive economic growth.86