OSUN State is planning to phase out the use of hoes and cutlasses as part of a major farming programme organised in conjunction with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) aimed at mechanising farm output.
Speaking in the state capital Osogbo yesterday, Governor Gboyega Oyetola, said the development is expected to boost productivity and move farmers away from unproductive output. He added that the usage of traditional farming implements such as hoes and cutlasses need to be phased out, which will promote commercial agriculture and improve farmers’ income and standard of living.
Making this known at a one-day Farmers’ Field Day exhibition that took place at Osogbo, Governor Oyetola said that the state, under his leadership, is ever ready to support farmers as well as embark on public private partnerships (PPP) in the agricultural sector. He thanked the various institutions that partnered with the state in the past.
Governor Oyetola added: “Under the partnership with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), the state government has provided 205.5 hectares of land in Ago Owu for the purpose of conducting researches and setting up demonstration farms for best farming practices. We will also facilitate the provision of affordable access to farm machinery and equipment for farmers and youths in agriculture.
“Our administration owes a debt of gratitude to our critical development partners, the Central Bank of Nigeria, IITA, Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria, the National Horticultural Research Institute and several others who have been very supportive of our dream and drive to take agriculture to the next level.”
Dr Peter Kolawole, the head of the mechanisation unit of IITA, said that the institute is championing the running of a programme called Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (Taat) sponsored by the African Development Bank. He added: “We are looking at the technologies produced by Nigerians that we can upscale and transform agriculture in Africa.
“Further, we are aiming at taking hoes and cutlasses back to the museum. This will affect both pre-harvest and post-harvest aspects of agriculture.”
Dr Kolawole explained further that there are technology compacts within Taat, one of which is the Cassava Compact. He explained that the process of transforming cassava entails a lot of wastage, in which over 70% is water and to reduce the transportation of water after cassava harvest, the compact involves moving the technology to the harvest site where initial stages of processing are embarked upon.