The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, has urged the government at all levels to encourage farming toward ensuring food security across the country.
Ooni made the call on Thursday while playing host to farmers, traders, artisans among others for the annual yam festival held at his Palace, Ile-Ife.
He described food as an indispensable commodity to human survival and decried several challenges including climate change, insecurity and funding among others confronting food production in the country.
“What is critical in ensuring food security is to encourage and celebrate farmers because they feed us.
” If we celebrate them, they will be encouraged to do more through which food security will be guaranteed.
“Nigeria is no doubt the largest producer of yam across the world, but we need to translate this into development and economic prosperity for our people.
“The Federal, State and Local governments must as a matter of core responsibility do everything possible to add value to the farming business,” Ooni said.
On the basis for the celebration, Ooni Ogunwusi explained: “What we are doing here today is linking our culture to commerce, economy, and nation-building.
“In short, we are encouraging our farmers and traders to do more.”
Earlier in his address, the Osun State Governor, Alhaji Adegboyega Oyetola, hailed the Ooni for upholding the prestigious Yoruba cultural values.
The governor was represented by the state’s Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Mr Simeon Obawale, at the event.
“Osun State Government is aware of Ile-Ife’s incomparable status when it comes to the history and tradition of the entire black race.
“With this fact, measures are already in place to present and showcase this to the world.
“Let me inform you that we have concluded plans to work with the House of Oduduwa on several projects and programmes.
“This includes: the prominent Karele Omo Oodua through which the ancient city will receive descendants of Oduduwa across the world,” the governor said.
The event, which was heavily attended by top dignitaries, was spiced up with several traditional performances by cultural troops while tubers of yam and other farm produce were shared among attendees.