By OLAJIDE OMOJOLOMOJU, Lagos and GBENGA ADEBOYE, Abeokuta, Lokoja
Ogun State governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, yesterday launched the state’s own branded rice, MITROS, at the Farmers Market, Asero, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
Governor Amosun, who launched about 110,000 bags of MITROS Rice, made up of Ofada and parboiled rice, produced, processed and packaged by the state government, said the state remains the industrial capital of Nigeria, following its determination towards improving and revamping the agricultural sector.
He further said his government was taking pro-active steps to provide infrastructural and agricultural demands for the influx of people relocating to the state from neighbouring states.
The governor added that his administration would continue to partner with the federal government and the organised private sector to actualise its vision of attaining sufficiency in agriculture.
MITROS is the acronym for Mission To Rebuild Ogun State (MITROS).
Also, in his remarks, Kebbi State governor, Atiku Bagudu, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari, said the federal government had, in the last two and half years under President Buhari, had taken steps to ensure that the country’s agriculture sector was revamped.
Bagudu, who is also the chairman, Presidential Task Force on Commodity and Production, said the president graciously approved the establishment of a Presidential Task Force on rice and wheat to make Nigeria self-sufficient in the production of those commodities.
He said, “For those who are conversant with Nigeria’s history, particularly at a time when we had a presidential committee to manage the importation of rice, this represents a paradigm shift for government that is visionary and committed to the Nigerian nation.’’
The state commissioner for agriculture, Mrs Adepeju Adebajo, said that one of aims of the initiative was not only to eradicate poverty from among the people of the state, but also to improve their wellbeing and stop the dependence of the people on imported foreign rice.
The MITROS Rice was packaged in bags of 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1 kilogrammes and would be sold to members of the public at a subsidised rate.
On his part, the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, assured farmers in the country of low interest loans and called for improved cooperation from relevant stakeholders towards supporting the agricultural revolution of the federal government.
In his goodwill message at the event, he commended the initiatives of the Ogun State government in the agricultural sector and charged other states across the country to emulate the economic developmental programmes of the Gateway State, in order to create job opportunities and strengthen our currency against foreign currencies.
He said, “Any nation that fails to take agriculture seriously does so at her own peril and it is in recognition of this that the CBN has taken it upon itself to support the agricultural initiative of the federal government.”