The Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi has said Ekiti has the capacity to feed the Southwest geopolitical zone and the country when the agricultural potentials of the state is fully harnessed with the activation of all its plans.
Dr. Fayemi stated this at a stakeholders’ sensitization meeting on Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project (RAAMP), in Ado-Ekiti on Friday. He said Ekiti, being an agrarian State, has been grossly underutilized by residents who were predominantly farmers, hence, the determination of his administration to construct 1,000 km rural roads from farms to markets across the State.
To actualise the 1,000 km rural road construction, the Governor said his administration has partnered the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank and French Development Agency for the construction and rehabilitation of major rural roads and river crossing in the State. He added that the Development Partners would also assist the State in establishing and rehabilitation of Agro-Logistics hubs and institutional development in the State.
Fayemi said the rural roads would not only connect farms to cities but would further enhance the surplus availability of farm produces in markets.
He revealed that the projects would be carried out in phases, “based on the level of agricultural produce and economic activities along the corridor of each road and not on equality of local government areas or town” as directed by the World Bank, adding that some of the rural roads would link up with some major roads he flagged off for reconstruction early this year.
The Governor said he was optimistic the rural roads, when constructed would boost agricultural productivity and reduce post- harvest wastages of farm produces, adding that it would also encourage agro allied industries and create job opportunities for the teeming youths in the State.
Restating his commitment to lifting Ekiti people out of poverty to the path of prosperity by empowering farmers and entrepreneurs in the agricultural value chain, the Governor said, “The vision of this government is to grow agri-business and open farms up to markets. This is why we have decided to embark on the construction of 1000km of rural roads to enhance agri-business in our dear State.
“Another Initiative of the government is the programme we called Youth in Commercial Agriculture Development (YCAD). The Initiative is to encourage Ekiti Youth to engage in mechanized farming with the aim of feeding the State as well as transporting to other States of the federation and in turn revamp the economy of the State.
“As a government, we are determined and remained committed to the development of Ekiti State, despite the meagre resources available. We shall continue to pursue our lofty goals of making life more meaningful for the people within the ambit of our resources.”
Fayemi said, part of the vision of his administration was to make life in the rural areas easier as in the urban areas, assuring that the rural areas in the State would be developed in such a way that it would dissuade and checkmate rural-urban migration which he claimed has affected the practice of agriculture.
The Governor advised stakeholders at the meeting to sensitize members of their community on the project. “I urged you to go to your various communities and farmsteads to sensitize your people particularly the youths to cooperate with the State Project Implementation Unit (SPIU), contractors and construction workers that will be moving to sites any moment from now. The project should be applauded by all and sundry rather than generating crisis among our people.”. he said.
Earlier, the National Coordinator of RAAMP, Engr Uban Doma Ularamu in his address called the on the benefitting communities to take possession of the projects that would be executed in their communities. “see it as your project, own it, support it where necessary in order for us to achieve our dream of a better society.” He added
The Project Coordinator, who was represented by a national official, Mrs Salamotu Jibaniya, noted that the traditional leaders in each of the community are the eyes of the government and would serve as the touch-bearers, owners and guard of the project.
The National Coordinator promised compensation for those whose prosperities would be affected by the project and also warned against the engagement of child labour and gender based violence during the execution of the project.
Also, the State Project Coordinator of RAAMP, Mr Sunday Adunmo said the project was intended to construct rural roads, farm footpaths and river crossings across the 16 local government areas of the State.
Adunmo listed the objectives of the project to include provision of reliable rural access and cost efficient transportation services that will facilitate the delivery of agricultural inputs, employment for the youths, support for agro logistics intervention that would reduce post-harvest losses and increase the price of agricultural and livestock.
The State Project Coordinator, took time to sensitize the gathering about the environmental, social and health impacts of the project. He also shed light on mitigation measures that would be put in place during the execution of the project.
Stakeholders at the event includes traditional rulers and representatives across the sixteen local government areas of the state.