Over 20,000 Ogun farmers benefit from OGSTEP programme, says commissioner

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By Sodiq Adelakun

The Ogun State Commissioner for Agriculture,  Bolu Owotomo, says  over 20,000 farmers have benefitted from the Ogun  State Economic Transformation Project (OGSTEP) programme, with significant investments  aimed at enhancing agricultural productivity and food security.

During the flag off  of the programme in Ilaro, on Thursday, the commissioner distributed high-quality seeds, fertiliser, herbicides, pesticides, and modern mechanisation services to farmers from various agricultural clusters across the state.

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Owotomo emphasised that the Value Chain Development Firms (VCDFs) are dedicated to empowering farmers with the necessary resources, knowledge, and support to improve productivity, livelihoods, and food security.

The distributed farm supplements, the commissioner said, was for the purpose of  “sowing the seed of change and progress” in the state.

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He said the programme, in collaboration with Value Chain Development Firms (VCDFs), seeks to support farmers across the state.

“Under the programme, two VCDFs have been appointed to cover each zone, providing farmers with essential services such as financial inclusion, bankable proposals, input support, and best economical practices. The firms will also link farmers with off-takers for their produce, ensuring minimal losses,” he said.

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According to Owotomo, the initiative is part of the Ogun State Economic Transformation Project (OGSTEP) programme, in collaboration with the World Bank, stating that the programme was implemented across all four divisions of Ogun State, including Ijebu-Ode, Ikenne, Abeokuta, and Ilaro.

He emphasised that the programme is part of the state government’s commitment to supporting farmers and ensuring food security.

“These value chain development firms are meant to integrate our farmers, teach them about financial inclusion, teach them how to make bankable proposals, assist them with input during planting seasons, ensure best economical practices, ensure that we have the essential officers, ensure that they are doing what is right and what is proper, and are getting adequate information.

“Also, they are meant to link them with off -takers for their produce. That way, we are sure that we reduce those average losses to the barest minimum,” he added.

He reaffirmed the government’s commitment to agricultural advancement, urging the private sector, civil society, and farmers to collaborate in building a thriving sector that fosters inclusive growth and sustainable development.

In support, Dr. Oluseyi Olugbire, Programme Manager of OGSTEP Agric, reassured farmers of the continued government and partner support, noting that such efforts would significantly enhance their productivity.

Dr. Adeyemo Jamiu, Executive Director of IBAD Limited, commended the Commissioner’s steadfastness and urged all farmers in Ogun State to work with the government to improve food production and distribution.

READ ALSO: Ogun neuropsychiatric hospital patients protest poor treatment 

In the same vein, Aderemi Osijo, Managing Director of RBS Consultant Limited, identified significant market failures hindering wealth creation in Ogun State’s agricultural commodity markets.

He pointed out that market governance is driven by informality and cultural norms, with cartels controlling most agricultural produce, resulting in a disorganised market.

Meanwhile, a representative of Trusted Farmers in Ado-Odo Ota expressed gratitude to the Commissioner for the receipt of the first batch of fish ingredients and the imminent arrival of the second batch, totalling nearly 1,500 units.

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