Food security: FarmKonnect Inaugurates Project in Osun,Urges Youths to Embrace Farming
In its bid to tackle looming food scarcity and hunger, FarmKonnect Agribusiness Nigeria Limited has inaugurated ‘Wave City’ an agricultural project aimed at promoting food sufficiency, national development and agricultural inclusion.
The wave city project cited at Wasimi area of Osun State was inaugurated on Tuesday by Mr Adewole Adedayo, the State Commissioner for Agriculture.
According Mr. Azeez Oluwole, the founder of the agribusiness farm, the
mission of the project was to take agriculture beyond just planting and making money, but a business that promote food sufficiency, national development as well as agricultural inclusion of all.
Oluwole, a retired Lt. Commander from the Nigerian Navy, added that: “In FarmKonnect, we run a model we call agricultural real estate and we are the first to do that. This allows multiple people to own a portion of the farm and they don’t necessarily have to step on the farm.”
“All they just need to do is engage their money and we take all the performances around. The greenhouses you are seeing here are specifically designed for the tropic.”
“The vision is to build 1,000,000 square metres of greenhouses. A controlled farming environment technology using greenhouses and net houses to produce fruits and leafy vegetables from tomatoes to pepper.”
“This is the first of its kind in Nigeria. This is specifically designed for minimal electricity as well as to expand our yield.”
He advised youths to align themselves with the current trend in the agricultural sector by recognising the opportunities in the industry.
“Youths should align now to stop looming hunger. With the youth population that we have, sub-saharan Africa should not be malnourished region on the planet.”
“So when youths embrace agriculture, we will change and turn things around. There is brain, wisdom, energy and there is a power you unleash with youthful mind if you align prowess aright,” Oluwole stated.
He appreciated the Osun State Government for its tremendous support to the project, assuring them of greater benefits in terms of food sufficiency and job creation.
While speaking on behalf of Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State; Mr Adewole Adedayo, the State Commissioner for Agriculture, affirmed that every responsible government must create enabling environment for farmers, describing the project as one of its kind in the state and south-west region.
“Today, I believe FarmKonnect are now realising a dream that started about three years ago. Today, having FarmKonnect in Osun State is another dream.
“Today, having these facilities on ground to develop agriculture in the south-west is a dream realised. So FarmKonnect has realised a dream.
“Like I keep saying, agriculture has the highest potentials to create jobs, both for skilled and unskilled labour. So, I will like to thank FarmKonnect for bringing this project to Osun State,” he said.
He said that agriculture was a priority and number one agenda of Gov. Gboyega Oyetola administration in the state, saying such is the beginning.
The commissioner who reeled out the various support of the Oyetola-led administration towards agricultural development, expressed readiness to welcome investors like FarmKonnect in the state.
According to him: “We are looking for investors like this. People who will empower our youths and also create jobs for farmers.”
Also, Dr Bosade Ogunlana, the founder, Entrepreneurship Initiative, commended the FarmKonnect on the project, saying it would help a lot in empowering the youths.
She said that Africa has more youths that would engage in land cultivation towards food sufficiency and security.
“Africa is the biggest gun of the world because over 60 percent of arable land in the entire world resides in Africa. I know with something like this happening here today, there is hope for Nigeria.
“Agriculture is the new gold, there is no longer oil. There is nothing we want to do with oil. Agriculture can help us with the GDP of the economy.
“It can help us to engage the youths. It can help us to ensure there is no scarcity of food,” she said.
Ogunlana appreciated the Osun State Government for its support to FarmKonnect, urging the government to ensure adequate security for the project.
In a similar event, experts in the agricultural sector have opined that while the government is preventing the spread of Coronavirus and addressing the healthcare sector, there was the need to place premium on the livelihood as well as the food and nutrition security of her citizens.
These were the views of participants at the Wave City virtual press conference of FarmKonnect Agribusiness Nigeria Limited, held in Ibadan.
The agribusiness experts noted that if innovative solutions were not found and people are worried about what to eat and other basic needs, they would not respect the lockdown and social distancing that are necessary to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
This, in turn, according to them, would expose many people in Nigeria to continued risk of infections.
According to Mr. Fajemirokun of Faj Bio-tech, COVID-19 is already pushing economies around the world into turmoil, adding that this would have direct, negative consequences for hunger and food insecurity.
“If food prices go up, consumers may resort to changing their consumption habits or purchasing less nutritious foods, which are often cheaper.”
“Governments can help with the accessibility of fresh fruits and vegetables to ensure they remain part of a healthy diet. In addition, governments should also encourage producers of fresh food and provide them the needed incentive to stay in business and access to markets while ensuring their protection and food safety.”
“Governments should monitor prices and release food from these reserves if prices spike. In addition, governments should also not hesitate to distribute or request assistance from businesses or international and national organizations to distribute food to those in need.
“Appropriate targeting should be ensured to avoid political exclusion of certain groups and elites. Women head of households, orphans, widows, refugees, internally displaced people, senior citizens, the poor and other vulnerable people should be the principal target of food distribution.”
“Keep food markets open while ensuring safety and social distancing: The vast majority of Africans continue to buy their food in open markets,” he added.