The government under my leadership will ensure that there is a marked departure from the current practice wherein farmers are dumped and forgotten in obscure centres in the rural areas and are brought out periodically for photo sessions to score cheap political points. We shall take the issue of farm settlements as a top priority. It is scandalous that an issue as basic as food is becoming a major challenge in a state which paraded wealthy farmers in the past. Only experts who are ready to assist in solving problems will be engaged at any level.
The knowledge that this state can serve as the food basket of the region, against the backdrop of the heart-corroding over-dependence on oil revenue, is scandalous, to state the least. There is no part of the state that is not economically viable. It takes a visionary leadership to recognise the significance of agriculture in the economy of the state. Cash crops such as cocoa, rubber, oil palm, coffee, timber, cow pea, cassava, yam, kolanut, maize, Soya beans, citrus, plantain etc can be cultivated on an industrial scale in the state.
Cocoa is cultivable in all parts of the state. It is sad indeed that this erstwhile money spinner plays no noticeable role in the so called internally generated revenue in the state today. What justification can there be for the relegation of this cash crop to subsistence existence? Is anyone thinking of what the resuscitation of the cultivation of this cash crop will do to the moribund industries in the state? My administration will encourage the establishment of agro-allied industries which have the capacity to produce cocoa butter, cocoa powder, cocoa liquor and beverages. Any private concern which displays sufficient commitment towards development along the line of production will be most welcome.
Rubber is found in Araromi Obu and the Forest Belt of the state in commercial quantity. How great will it be if the industries rushing to Ghana are convinced to return to Ondo State for the purpose of manufacturing tyre for both local consumption and export?
Oil Palm is cultivable in all parts of the state. Malaysia came to the country to pick palm kernel seedlings in 1962. That country is the chief exporter of palm oil products in the world today. My administration will revive the cultivation of oil palm plantations in the state.
Coffee can be cultivated in the Forest Zones. Beverages and stimulants can be produced from this crop.
Timber abounds in the Forest zones and a few other areas in the state. Planks, logs, panels will be available for both local use and export. Cow pea, yam and cassava can be cultivated in almost every part of the state. Grits, flour, adhesives, starch, feeds, cassava chips, livestock, yeast and mosquito expellers are direct derivatives of these crops. Kolanut can flourish in Oke igbo, Ondo, Ijare, Ore, and generally in Forest zone. Maize is a staple crop in most parts of the western region. From this we can derive corn flour, grit and maize for domestic and industrial use.
The cultivation of Soya beans, citrus and plantain may be widespread in that virtually all parts of our state can engage in their farming even on an industrial scale. Citrus will give fruit juice, animal feeds, wines, baby food, essence oil etc. With Soya beans the state will get cereal and barley products, margarines and oil etc. Plantain supplies plantain flour, chips/crisps and plantain ball.
Our farmers shall receive technical assistance from experts on how to improve their farming techniques. My administration will establish Produce purchasing board akin to what operated in the Action Group days. Farmers will be protected from all forms of exploitation. Large scale farmers will be encouraged by the government. The government will partner with banks which are ready for real business to guarantee loan facilities extended to genuine farmers with verifiable claims.
I promise to lay the foundation for rejuvenation of agriculture in the real sense. Our state has no reason running cap in hand begging for allocations of even several years ahead of the constitutionally guaranteed term to service greed. It is an insult to the memory of the hard-working people of the state, indeed our ancestors who laboured strenuously to bring prosperity to our land, for anyone to collect huge hand-outs from Abuja and embark on a voyage of discovery, executing state policies whimsically and expecting applause for embracing the philosophy of waste and thievery.
My administration will ensure orderly spatial development. The emergence of reserved slums in the major towns of our state will be halted. Government will ensure that areas designated for industry and agriculture are not appropriated for other purposes. Our residential quarters must be accessible and conducive to peaceful existence. Designated commercial centres will be developed and maintained. I intend to engage the services of experts in Geographic science to advise on how to manage our environment for efficiency and improved productivity.