Osun state government says it has set aside 1000 hectares of land for farming to boost food sufficiency and make the state the food basket of South-West zone.
Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, Mr Adedayo Adewole, made the disclosure while inspecting some of the ploughed lands, located in Ife South Local Government Area of the state, on Sunday.
Adewole said out of the 1000 hectares of land, 400 hectares had been ploughed for the plantation of cocoa, cassava and other agricultural produce.
The commissioner said that the ploughed lands, located in Ife South Local Government Area and Ifon-Osun in Orolu Local Government Area, would be allocated to more than 200 farmers.
He said government had also cleared more than 23 hectares of land in Ifon-Osun town for tomato plantation, adding that it would be allocated to interested farmers within the axis.
The initiative, according to him, is to rejuvenate the agricultural sector by making it more attractive and productive to farmers, particularly the young ones.
“On this first phase, we are looking mainly for cocoa and cassava farmers to populate the entire 1000 hectares and priority will be given to people from Ife.
“We have been carrying the traditional rulers and other community stakeholders along to ensure their full participation in the allocation process and in identifying the real farmers.
“The objective is to serve as a catalyst for diversification process by government, in line with our clear vision to turn our state to food basket of the South-West zone.
“Aside the 1000 hectares of land that we are working on in Ife, we have equally cleared 23 hectares in Ifon-Orolu for tomato production,” he said.
Welcoming the commissioner and his team to his domain, the Gbadewolu of Oranmiyan Lagada in Ife South Local Council Area, Oba Folorunso Omidiora, lauded government’s efforts at revamping agriculture in the state.
Omidiora, who described the initiative as a welcome development, said it would help farmers who had been looking for lands to farm.