Post COVID-19: Osun to diversify its economy – Commissioner

Mrs Funke Egbemode, Honourable Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation
Mrs Funke Egbemode, Honourable Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation

As part of its post-COVID-19 economic revival strategies, the Osun State Government has said it is putting plans in place to diversify its economy into agriculture and mining.

Mrs. Funke Egbemode, Honourable Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, disclosed this in a press statement after the fifth virtual State Executive Council meeting which was held on Monday 18th May 2020.

Mrs. Egbemode announced that the State Executive Council agreed to empower 5764 Farmers to grow cassava, cotton and engage in fish farming, with the help of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

According to her, twelve (12) Local Government Areas have also earmarked about 2000 hectares of agricultural land in addition to the existing Farm Settlements across the State.

Speaking on the State’s immediate agricultural intervention, Egbemode said: “On Thursday, May 21, the State will be flagging off its planting season. It has already moved farming equipment into its Ila Farm Settlement”.

“At the launching, the State Government will be distributing improved seedlings, pesticides and herbicides, knapsack sprayers, among other things, to improve yields of farmers in the state. The State Government will also train 1000 farmers in specialized farming,” she added.

Speaking on the state of mining in the State, Egbemode announced that the Gold Buying Centre in Osu was ready, and the state is set to maximize the economic benefit of the Centre.

She quoted the Governor of the State of Osun, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola, as saying: “Mining is the new frontier of the economy of Osun. The State Government is, therefore, planning to maximize the sector and reap maximum benefit from it”.

Governor Oyetola, commenting on the State’s actions against illegal miners, said that the State Government was not interested in witch-hunting anyone, rather, it wants to regulate mining activities within the State.

He said that: “if we do not sanitize the sector and take out illegal miners, we may end up like other countries who are now dealing with the negative consequences and concepts of illegal trade of natural resources ‘like blood diamond’.

“We are determined to weed out illegal and inimical elements, and out to stop negative implications such as environmental degradation in the State”, Governor Oyetola added.

Reacting to the activities of illegal miners in the State, Egbemode said that the State Government will continue to comb its mining sites to rid them of illegal miners.

“Today, the Joint Task Force of the State arrested another eight Chinese, who in spite of the previous arrests, thought they could outmanoeuvre the State’s regulations. They are currently being interrogated and necessary actions will be taken within legal limits”, she disclosed.

In another development, the State Government has approved the appointment of two new traditional rulers in the State.

They are Prince Taofeek Abiodun Nafiu who has been approved for appointment as Olu of Akinleye in Iwo Local Government Area, while Chief James Bolarinwa Oladipupo who was approved for appointment as Alayegun of Ode Omu in Ayedaade Local Government Area.