By Kazeem Awojoodu, Ibadan.
Governor Seyi Makinde on Friday inaugurated the first integrated agribusiness industrial hub being developed within the framework of the Oyo State Regional Agribusiness Development Programme, a flagship programme of the Oyo State Agribusiness Development Agency (OYSADA).
The 1,200-hectare Fasola Agribusiness Industrial Hub is located in Fasola, a town in the Oyo West LGA, and will focus on agro-industries as a means to drive rural industrialisation and job creation.
The Fasola Agribusiness Industrial Hub will be constructed by Brains and Hammers and is projected to be completed by December 2021.
It is the first of nine integrated agribusiness industrial hubs that will be built across the state by OYSADA as part of Governor Makinde’s vision to drive industrialisation and economic regeneration through the creation of industrial parks, supported by the development of power and transport infrastructure and human capacity development.
Speaking at the inauguration, Governor Makinde who led the cornerstone laying ceremony marking the launch of the park’s construction phase reiterated his administration’s resolve to foster a rapid industrialisation path through encouraging manufacturing and agro-processing industries.
The Governor said his administration has given top priority to the regeneration of moribund facilities with economic potential as a means of rebuilding the state’s economy.
This is in line with his promise to transform existing under-utilised and moribund farm settlements in Oyo State into nine agribusiness industrial parks with the aim of making the state’s agricultural sector globally competitive.
“The industrial hubs will play a crucial role in advancing the state’s economy, reducing rural poverty and creating a better environment for investors in agro-food and allied sectors,” Governor Makinde said.
“We are determined to rebuild the economy of the state and we will extract value from all moribund facilities.”
The 1,200-hectare site is on the Oyo-Iseyin route which the Governor said will be rehabilitated in the coming weeks to improve access and ensure project success.
“There is no way this flag off will yield the desired result without rehabilitating this road,” the Governor stated. “The flag off for the rehabilitation of this road will take place within the next four to six weeks.
On completion, the Fasola Agribusiness Industrial Hub will include dedicated crop and livestock production facilities, research and innovation centres, processing facilities, agricultural equipment leasing facilities, cold-chain, storage, packaging, distribution and export facilities and a sprawling residential area.
The agribusiness industrial hub is expected to attract foreign and domestic investors engaged in agro-processing products for the domestic and international markets, accommodating a variety of fruit-bearing plants used to process cassava, oilseeds and grains, fruits and vegetables, food grains, meat, and poultry products and eggs, honey, and dairy products.
At the event, OYSADA DG Dr Debo Akande said the agro-processing sector has a significant role to play in accelerating the state’s transformation from agriculture-led to industrial-led development.
Dr Akande said the launch of the Fasola Agribusiness Industrial Hub is a clear indication of Oyo State’s future journey to prosperity, adding that a solid foundation has been laid for future generations to create wealth through agribusiness.
“The singular act of revamping the agricultural sector will improve the economy of the state. This is an important milestone, generations to come will see agribusiness as the go-to do business.”
Brains and Hammers representative Engr Ayo Alfred emphasised the company will continue working closely with the Oyo State government and OYSADA as it brings this hub and its two sister hubs in Eruwa and Akufo to fruition.
By 2023, OYSADA expects to have completed a total of five industrial hubs across the state, creating sixty thousand jobs and boosting internally generated revenue by N10 billion annually.
It is estimated that 20-30 agribusinesses with a market value of 16 to 31 billion naira will have invested in the state within the next two years leading to the production of 50 value-added Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCGs) and the substitution of 2-10% of national food imports.
A representative of the Fasola community Chief Adedokun Ishola thanked Governor Makinde for his continuous support for the Fasola community which now has an integrated industrial hub in addition to being the pilot location for OYSADA’s IITA-facilitated Start Them Early Project at the Fasola Grammar School.
The event was attended by over 200 participants, including the deputy governor Engr. Rauf Olaniyan, the Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly Rt. Hon. Debo Ogundoyin, the Chief of Staff Chief Bisi Ilaka, commissioners, state government officials, representatives of communities surrounding the IAIP, interested investors and representatives of international organisations.
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