Aregbesola Directs Agric Extension Officers Back To Farm Or Risk Sack | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Aregbesola Directs Agric Extension Officers Back To Farm Or Risk Sack

Posted: Nov 19, 2015 at 10:06 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Gbenga Faturoti,


Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has directed all agriculture Extension Officers in the service of the state government to return to farm or their duty posts or risk demotion or sack.

Governor Aregbesola stated this in Osogbo at the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) on the development of agriculture and production of massive food production as alternative to reliance on oil sector.

 The agreement involve releasing of 204.39 hectares of land in Ago Owu Farm Settlement to IITA for the purposes of conducting research and setting up demonstration farms for best farming practices.

According to the agreement, the IITA will also carry out cassava, plantain and other crops multiplication as well as train the youths in the state in modern, commercial and profitable farming.

Signing the MOU on behalf of the state government, Governor Aregbesola stated that releasing the farmland to IITA will complement Osun agriculture programme, extending robustly the agriculture value chain and create jobs for farmers, especially the youths that are being attracted to farming.

?He said, henceforth, all 1,000 extension officers in the service of the state would be assessed by their productivity adding that failure to impact on farmers’ production would earn them sack letter or demotion.

According to him, “if you are not performing and farmers under your watch failed to improve their productivity, you are going to be responsible for the failure; consequently, you will be send out of the service or be demoted.

“We have entered into period of management by productivity. Let all extension officers in the state set their agenda within two weeks and make such agenda workable by moving back to farm. We shall not tolerate failure. We have about 1,000 agriculture extension officers whereas IITA which is an international body has only two and still performing wonders.

“The era of cheap money from the federation account has gone. The only way we can survive is to depend on ourselves like there is no help anymore from anywhere. If oil will not be there for us to use, what is available is the land and our hands.

“We have enough land to make this state prosperous. The only way we can sustain our state and governance is when we disregard allocation from the federation account and develop ourselves.

“We have done something extra ordinary and unique. What we did is landmark and remarkable. Nigeria signed agreement to have IITA where it is today, we believed it will do our farmers good if we bring IITA directly to our soil.

The Governor commended ?IITA and her Director General Dr. Nteranya Sanging for being supportive of Osun’s flagship agriculture programme, Osun Rural Enterprise and Agriculture Programme (O’REAP) in many ways.

 Speaking earlier, the Director General Office of Economic Development and Partnerships (OEDP), Dr. Charles Akinola stated that there had been relationship with IITA for over four years.

He held that the MOU is an epoch-making event that will facilitate a working relationship with OREAP carrying out crop multiplication and all inputs of planting material will be adequately considered.

He said, “we are anticipating large impact from this partnership, the location is close to the two major farm settlements that we have in the state.

“In these areas, we hope it will translate to the development of 14,000 settlerso. We expect that the impact of IITA will be felt among about 85 villages and the state as a whole”.

In his address, the Director General of IITA, ?Dr. Nteranya Sanging? stated that the time has come for Nigeria to diversify from its dependence on oil, saying with the disappearance of the oil boom, the country must turn to agriculture to survive.

He held that the only source of wealth for Africa is agriculture, noting that agriculture is one of the best ways to get the teeming youth of Africa employed?.

He implored Governor Aregbesola to keep to his own side of the MOU adding that IITA will hit the ground running in Osun with the 1,00?0 extension workers provided by the state for the multiplication of seedlings.

He said “I want to ask these two questions, just think of Africa or Osun state with?out cassava or yam? If not for the research of IITA there may not have been cassava as it is in the soil of Africa, our Genetic resource centre contained all seeds.

“What we have to do is to use those resources for the benefit of Osun, we will soon start a small programme on Banana and cassava, we will give some of the seed to Osun”. The IITA boss stated.