Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde, has set what could be described as a record in governance after spending 72 hours on the stretch with state officials and experts at a retreat in Cotonou, Republic of Benin, to chart a path for transforming agriculture in Oyo State.
The sessions saw the governor leading participants to design an implementation plan for agribusiness in the state.
He promised officials of the state that the administration will give agriculture the necessary ‘political will’ to play its role and transform the economic fortunes of the state.
“I want to assure all the participants that Oyo State will provide the political will needed to make the state the agribusiness hub of Nigeria,” Gov Makinde said at the retreat that was facilitated by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Cotonou, Republic of Benin, 15-19 August.
Governor Makinde pledged to attract more private investments to agriculture by providing an enabling environment for the private sector to invest in the state. He said the state would ensure agribusiness-friendly policies that would boost investor confidence.
Since assumption of office on May 29, 2019, Governor Makinde has pledged to transform the narrative of agriculture with the view to making it the pillar of the state’s economic development. The retreat provided an opportunity for the Governor to unveil his vision for agriculture in the state.
Dr Kenton Dashiell, IITA Deputy Director-General, Partnerships for Delivery commended the governor for demonstrating an uncommon leadership style by participating in all the sessions of the three-day retreat.
“I have never seen such a commitment from a governor… and I believe the document coming out of this retreat will help the state to achieve the vision of an agribusiness hub for Nigeria,” he added.
Dr. Martin Fregene, Director for Agriculture and Agro-Allied division with the African Development Bank said the commitment of the state to agriculture was a step in the right direction.
“Let me also commend you (the governor of Oyo state) for organizing this very important meeting, and participating fully in it to have a vision and an implementation plan for agribusiness in the state,” he added via skype.
Dr. Fregene urged the state government to adopt the agri-business approach to unlock the potential of agriculture in the state.
“For Oyo state to move forward in agriculture, you must treat agriculture as a business,” he explained.
According to the AfDB director, the Bank would be willing to support the state in its quest to transform agriculture.
The retreat had four sessions comprising: Developing a vision for the state in agriculture, identifying the obstacles to the vision, developing strategic actions to deal with the obstacles to the vision, and developing an implementation plan.
Adebowale Akande, Executive Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture gave thumbs up to the retreat, adding that recommendations from the retreat would help the state to achieve its vision of becoming an agribusiness hub.