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Monday, March 4, 2013

FG to establish 774 agro ‘one-stop-shops’ by 2015, commissions Iseyin centre

The Federal Government has concluded plans to establish an agro ‘one-stop-shop’ centre in all 774 Local Governments (LGs) in the country by the year 2015, with the first phased commissioned at the weekend in Iseyin LG, Oyo State.
(L - R) Prince Fehintola Oyelade, Chairman, All Farmers' Association, Iseyin LGA,   
Mrs. Areola Aderibigbe, Association of Women Farmers of Nigeria (AWFAN), 
Oyo East, Princess Ayobami Temilade, State Secretary of AWFAN, Oyo State.

Disclosing this to NaijaAgroNet, at the official commissioning of the Iseyin centre, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mrs. Ibukun Odusote, said these centres will be constructed by the federal government for the purpose of ensuring the availability, accessibility and affordability of agricultural inputs such as fertiliser, agro-chemicals, quality seeds, livestock feeds, veterinary drugs, tractor hiring, primary processing and extension services and to serve as access warehouse facility for inputs for farmers.

She also said that the task of making food available, affordable and accessible to all Nigerians through promotion of food security programmes has been the major focus of the federal government in pursuance of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda of Mr. President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.

She said her ministry is very mindful of the serious impediment of inaccessibility of good quality agricultural inputs such as fertiliser, agro-chemicals, seeds and seedlings, livestock feeds, veterinary drugs, tractor hiring, primary processing and extension services by farmers in a bid to maximising aggregate production output for the nation.

This impediment as well as the federal government’s intention to withdraw from direct procurement and distribution of all agricultural inputs, she said, informed the decision of the ministry to establish at least one ‘one-stop-shop’ agro-input centre in each of the local government areas in the federation by the year 2015.

These centres, Mrs. Odusote said are established as part of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda in the agro-input sub-sector to strengthen the food security programme of the federal government.

“They are aimed at providing market information services, promote private sector investment in viable commercial agriculture and enhance food security,” she said.

Each of the centres, she revealed, has facilities for about 500 tonnage storage capacity for fertilisers, seeds and agro-chemicals as well as provides tractor hiring, primary processing and extension support services. The centre will also enhance the activities of the Growth Enhancement Supports (GES) programme of the federal government to a large extent.

“The first phase of 62 one-stop-shop agro-input centres was awarded in October 2010 for execution nationwide while the second phase of 18 was awarded in December 2011,” she disclosed.

She noted that three of these centres were being established at various locations in Oyo State, namely each at Iseyin, Fasola and Ago Amodu, in Iseyin, Oyo West and Saki East LGAs.

“The projects, after completion, are envisaged to be concessioned to private sector operators, through approved concessioning process in accordance with federal government Concessioning Act,” she said.

Presently, the Perm Sec pointed out that most of the centres in the first phase have been completed and ready for commissioning and utilisation.

“Within the constraint of time, one representative centre per geo-political zone of the country has been selected for official commissioning,” she said, emphasizing that the Iseyin commissioning symbolises inputs such as seeds, fertiliser, chemicals and tractors with attachable implements will be available for sale and hiring respectively.

“With the sales of these inputs, it is hoped that the productivity of the potential beneficiaries will be boosted,” she said.

Remmy Nweke/NaijaAgroNet
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