Monday, 7 June 2021

30 minutes with Otunba Emiola Ogunsanya (FEGAGRO)...Calls for urgent action to avert rising hunger and risk of famine... Talks on his College of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Technology at Ijebujess/Ijeda rd.


Otunba (Dr) Gabriel Emiola Ogunsanya can best be described as a colossus in the agricultural sector; having been engaged as a farmer and processor in the industry and its value chain for over six decades; especially in cocoa, cashew, and oil palm plantations, livestock production/rearing, processing, and marketing. 

An industry that had taken him to most continents of the world in both his private and official capacities, Otunba had represented the country at several agricultural conferences, meetings, events, trade fairs, negotiations, etc. while interfacing with other juggernauts around the world. Otunba Ogunsanya, a former Chairman of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), is the founder of the Tropical Cattle Ranch and Chairman or member of several Commodities’ Association Board of Trustees. 

He is a member of the Board of Trustees of Commercial Dairy Ranchers Association of Nigeria (CODARAN) and National Groundnut Producers Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NGROPPMAN), amongst others. He is currently the Chairman Board of Trustees Agricultural Traders Welfare Association (ATWA) and pioneer National President of the National Fish Association of Nigeria (NFAN). He is also, the Life Patron of the ubiquitous and famous South West Farmers Association of Nigeria (SWEFA) with over 25,000 strong membership including women and youths. 

In this interview, he talks about his interest in capacity building and transfer of knowledge to the new generation of modern farmers in Nigeria and entire Africa that has motivated him to found a world-class College of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Technology, located at Emiola Village, along Ijebu-Ijesa/Ijeda Road, Oriade LGA, Osun State, Nigeria wherein he is the Chairman Governing Council of a College designed to train middle-level, professional and field officers in agricultural practices and its value chains for sustainable agricultural development in Nigeria.

Question: There is this prediction that acute hunger is set to soar in the coming months, what is your recommendation on how Southwest Nigeria can avert this?

Answer: Farmers that are on the field know really that the problem is coming. That is why we call ourselves together and plan how we can solve this problem. We formed the SouthWest Farmers Association (SWEFAN), Dr. Prince Tai Oyekan the National President, luckily for us there are lots of foreign countries that want to assist us but they prefer dealing directly with the farmers. We are in collaboration with the Commonwealth Farmers of the United Kingdom, a company designed to create solutions that will not only assist farmers within the countries in the African commonwealth but deliver values and solutions that will change the lives of farmers and enhance the value of agriculture both within those countries and also about their markets.

The Commonwealth Farmers are working in collaboration with the SWEFAN to empower and improve the lives of farmers in the South West of Nigeria. To this end, the Commonwealth Farmers will achieve the following goals:

The delivery of farm mechanization solutions

The delivery of digital farming solutions

The provision of access to farm inputs, implements, and equipment

The provision of access to processing technology, equipment, and plants

The development of farming for the export market

The provision of training and capacity building to deliver all the above

 SWEFAN has entered into a negotiation with the Commonwealth Farmers that has agreed to empower 1,200,000 farmers of the southwest region.

Also, there is the new college of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food Technology located at Ijeda\Efon road where almost 250 acres of land have been provided by the community. 

The college is to engage in youth empowerment with modern agricultural skills, tools, and technology for business growth and sustainability through agricultural empowerment programs. Courses to be run by the college include Fish Value Chain, Arable Crop Farming, Tree Crop Production, Food Technology, Livestock Production, Vegetable Production, Agricultural Cooperatives, and Agricultural Produce Marketing.

The college has already taken off this June 2021 with 200 students being sponsored by some dignitaries in support of the state of Osun government. Denmark is also ready to assist the college with equipment.

Things are very tense we urgently need to redirect our orientation about farming. We need to go back to the farm. There is no magic to it, we just have to go back to aggressive farming to build a greater nation. it takes 28 days to start reaping profit from vegetable farming, maize production is 60 to 70 days, the broiler is about 12 weeks, cassava is 9 months to a year. I have been in agriculture for 40 years and the experience of this year baffles me a lot and I start to ask myself the question where are we going when a 25litre keg of palm oil sells for N20,000 and a Kongo of gaari for N400? We must go back to the farm.

We have land all over for farming and we have rivers to do irrigation. The government is ready to support anybody that genuinely wants to go into farming. May God help us.

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