By BENJAMIN OMOIKE
…Says his administration’s Red Gold Agenda has become reality
Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, has flagged off the planting of oil palm on 10,000 hectares of land in Ore, Odigbo Local Government Area of the state.
The farm is owned by a private investor, J.B Farms Limited in line with the Red Gold Agenda of Governor Akeredolu’s administration.
Speaking at the flag-off ceremony, held at the farm, Governor Akeredolu noted that the event marked a giant stride in his administration’s quest for a green and sustainable economy, job creation, industrial development and enhanced Internal Revenue Generation (IGR).
While reiterating his commitment to the promotion of Oil-Palm, Cocoa, Cashew, Rubber and Coffee, the Governor said he would not relent in his desire to make the state the number one producer of Cocoa and Oil-Palm.
He disclosed that the J.B. Farms when fully operational will provide several thousands of direct and indirect jobs for the teeming populace.
“It is noteworthy that our Red Gold Agenda has become a reality and not just that, we are also promoting indigenous investors. I am happy to disclose that as of today, our administration has given 70,000ha of land out of a total of 100,000 ha earmarked for our tree crops programme.
“I have the conviction from the outset, that tree crops value-chain is one of the foremost areas where we have a comparative advantage as a State.
“The J.B. Farms alone, when fully operational will provide several thousands of direct and indirect jobs for our teeming populace. At an average of four persons per hectare, we are looking at about 40,000 direct and indirect jobs.
“The global economic indicators have continually shown the undeniable strength of the oil palm value-chain and its positive multiplier effects. This is a further confirmation that we have taken a very good decision with our Red Gold Agenda. History and posterity will vindicate us.
“I rejoice with the people of Ondo State in general and Odigbo Local Government in particular. This local government has become a major economic hub, not only in Ondo State but in Nigeria as a whole. In this area, we have an array of investments, running into several billions of Naira. We have the Ondo-Linyil Industry Hub, the Oil and Gas by Prof. Akinlagbe, SSAPZ in partnership with AfDB, SUDIT Oil and Agro Chemicals, ACME, Bola Oil, to mention but a few. I am also aware that a lot of business ventures like Quarries, Oil and Gas are continuously springing up.
“The issue of deforestation for oil palm plantations, most especially in Southeast Asia, has been a subject of controversy. Climate Change and loss of biodiversity and increasing number of endangered species are some of the points being raised.” Governor Akeredolu said.
The Governor, who congratulated the Chairman and CEO of J.B. Farms, Jibola Adebutu on the monumental achievement, described him as a hard-working man while charging him not to rest on his laurels.
Governor Akeredolu said:” I am aware of the increasing cost of sprouted nuts because of the depreciating value of the Naira. The arrangement is, therefore, in the pipeline to build a partnership between the Olusegun Agagu University of Science and Technology, Okitipupa and an accomplished organisation in Asia to set up a Centre of Excellence in Oil-Palm Research and Seedlings Production. We are totally committed to the development of the entire value chain.”
The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Agriculture and Agribusiness, Pastor Akin Olotu and the former Chief Executive Officer of the Ondo State Development and Investment Promotion Agency (ONDIPA), Mr Boye Oyewumi, described the occasion as a giant stride in the administration of the Governor, noting that Governor Akeredolu is encouraging investment that will create economic prosperity for the state in the future.
The Chairman and CEO of J.B. Farms, Jibola Adebutu, thanked the Governor for creating an enabling environment for investment.
He explained that the oil-palm seedlings will be planted on two hectares of land each year for the next five years to fully utilize the 10,000 hectares.
The Deputy Governor, Hon. Lucky Aiyedatiwa attended the event.
The Secretary to the State Government, Princess Oladunni Odu, led some members of the State Executive Council to the occasion.