By Ayo Olowu
The Chairman of the Ondo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (OSOPADEC), Hon. Olugbenga Edema has charged the people of Ilaje and Ese-Odo Local Government Areas, the commission’s mandate areas to take full advantage of the commercial rice production project initiated in the area by OSOPADEC and the World Bank FADAMA III Project.
Edema gave the charge at the weekend in his keynote address at a one-day workshop organised by OSOPADEC in collaboration with the World Bank FADAMA III Project and the Ministry of Agriculture on commercial rice value chain production for the people of both Ilaje and Ese-Edo Local Government Areas.
The workshop held at the Williams Event Centre, Igbokoda is part of the commission’s poverty alleviation and economic empowerment programmes for the people of its mandate area.
Edema averred that the project is designed to promote food security and sufficiency and create abundant wealth for the people of the area.
He described the project as highly attractive and beneficial as it entails the disbursement of grants to participants rather than the conventional loans.
Edema therefore urged the participants whose ages range between 25 and 55 years to obtain, fill and submit their forms at OSOPADEC Zonal Office in Igbokoda, Ese-Edo Local Government Secretariat in Igbekebo and OSOPADEC Headquarters in Akure and attend the various capacity building programmes lined up by the commission in respect of the project.
The OSOPADEC Chairman also noted that the project is not designed for males only, but for both males and females.
Earlier in his speech at the workshop, the Project Environmental Officer, FADAMA III AF Project in Ondo State, Chief Bunmi Falodun said the workshop was designed to build participants’ capacity on how value can be added to rice production to bring about better value and quality.
Falodun, who noted that FADAMA III Project focuses on rice and cassava value chain production commended the partnership of OSOPADEC in the project implementation to improve the lives of people of its mandate area.
He averred that rice farming has several comparative advantages for the people of Ilaje and Ese-Odo Local Government Areas including the ability to plant thrice a year and the suitability of their soil for rice cultivation.
Falodun therefore disclosed that participants of the project will be trained and re-trained on modern farming techniques.
Also speaking at the workshop, the Facilitator of the project, Mr. Benson Eyuro, described farming as the most profitable profession in the world today, hence he called on the people to embrace farming.
Addressing the participants, the Secretary to the Board of OSOPADEC, Dr. Victor Koledoye noted that under the FADAMA III Project, FADAMA offers the participants grants and seedlings for onward cultivation.
Koledoye added that OSOPADEC is commencing the project with rice production now while it will go into cassava production early next year.
He therefore enjoined the people to key into the project as it offers immense opportunities for wealth creation.
Cross section of the people who spoke in separate interviews with The Hope commended OSOPADEC for initiating the project, stressing that it will significantly improve their welfare.