Ado-Ekiti — Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, weekend said his administration was making concerted efforts to make commercial agriculture the mainstay of the state's economy hence the decision to establish the College of Agriculture and Technology in Isan-Ekiti.
The governor stated this in Ado-Ekiti while inaugurating the governing council of the college, saying the state government under his watch was "walking the talk in the agriculture sector" with the aim of ensuring food security and financially empowering Ekiti farmers.
Fayemi stated that the quest to restore agriculture to its pride of place in Ekiti State has necessitated a number of reforms and initiatives such as developing partnership with private sectors such as Promasidor and Dangote Farms to boost the agric sector in the state.
The governor explained that the essence of the College of Agriculture was to train people in agricultural best practices through modern technology with an expectation that the products of the college would, in turn, utilise their acquired knowledge and skills in the agriculture and technology base of the state.
"The dream and aspiration to have a College of Agriculture and Technology in our dear state has been resuscitated and this has been made possible through the Re-enactment Act of 2019 which resuscitated the school. It gladdens my heart that the college commenced operation on September 4, 2019 and it is gradually afoot with remarkable progress.
"It is a common knowledge that Ekiti is an agrarian state. Therefore, it is not by happenstance that agriculture and rural development is one of the five pillars of our administration. As a government, we are walking the talk in the agriculture sector with the aim of ensuring food security and financially empowering our farmers," he said.
While charging the pioneer governing council members to demonstrate creativity and commitment that would add value to the college, Fayemi urged them to discharge their duties with all sense of "responsibility, diligence, fairness and honesty" as their appointment was a call to service and not "a call to keep up appearances at the detriment of the college and the state."
Meanwhile, a member the House of Representatives, Hon. Wumi Ogunlola, has called for a huge investment in agriculture to attract productive population and reduce the scourges of insecurity and cybercrime being perpetrated by Nigerian youths.
The lawmaker called on the federal government to as a matter of urgency declare a state of emergency in the agricultural sector, to allow for more funding that would banish unemployment and poverty among youths.
Ogunlola, who represents Ekiti West Federal Constituency 11 in the National Assembly, stated that the present agricultural practice, which relies on traditional implements and annual rainfall, is not profitable and could not encourage the Nigerian youth to engage in farming.
The lawmaker spoke in Aramoko Ekiti on Saturday while empowering farmers from the 33 wards of Ekiti West, Efon and Ijero local government areas of the state, which are the components of her constituency.
She said: "If the federal government is serious about creating employments through agriculture, then it must make farming attractive to the Nigerian youths. The government should increase budgetary allocations to the agric sector and then encourage modern mechanised farming.
"We cannot expect our youths to embrace farming if, they are going to use the same tools that were used by their grandfathers. These are the people whose parents sent to school because they wanted to escape farming."
The farmers who came from, Ijero, Efon and Ekiti West local government areas were empowered with cash and various farm tools like, spraying machine, 50kg bags of fertilisers, insecticides and herbicides.