With Matthew Denis
Farmers under the Kwara State Offtakers Demand Driven Agriculture (ODDA) scheme have commenced seed planting in the estate farms across the state.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Bamidele Adegoke revealed this on Monday while inspecting the 400 hectare Oke-Oyi Estate Farm.
He noted that the state government is deploying the scheme as an empowerment programme to drive employment, boost food production and diversify the state economy.
Adegoke said through ODDA, the state government ensured farmers have ready markets for their farm produce, thereby eliminating cost of storage and minimising post-harvest losses.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture, Mr Anu Ibiwoye, who was also part of the team, urged beneficiaries to make good use of the opportunity, urging more pople to take advantage of the next phase of the scheme.
One of the beneficiaries, Mr Kazeem Azeez, commended the state government for the initiative, which he said has empowered youths.
He urged unemployed youths to stop struggling for limited white collar jobs and go back to the farm.
Mohammed Saliu, another youth beneficiary, applauded the state government for providing all the inputs needed by farmers towards high quality yields and productivity.
He said that the selection process for the scheme was free and fair.
Saliu disclosed that over a thousand youths have been employed under the ODDA scheme, calling on the Governor Abdulfattah Ahmed-led administration to make agriculture more attractive to the youths.
Other communities where the state government has secured land for estate farms include Ejidongari, Esie, Agbamu, Reke, Malete, Alateko, Ekan, Ballah, Isin, Share, Shonga, Bode-Saadu and Owode-Ofaro.