Oyo State Governor, ‘Seyi Makinde, on Thursday, commissioned the first Cassava-based Sorbitol Factory in Africa owned by Psaltery International Limited and located in Alayide Village, Ado-Awaye, Oyo State.
The Governor declared that his government will continue to prioritise the safety and security of lives and properties, while providing enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
Makinde, who also announced the approval of the reconstruction of the 48- kilometre Ido-Eruwa Road, during the commissioning exercise, said that his administration’s commitment to reducing the infrastructure deficit in the state remains a top priority.
The Governor said that building infrastructure needed for businesses to thrive is a top function that governments must continue to undertake as he promised the people of the state that the present administration will continue to ensure development that targets the economy of the state.
He added that apart from the planned reconstruction of Ido-Eruwa Road, the state government will also embark on the rehabilitation of feeder roads across the state.
He said: “Today, Psaltery International Limited is making history as we commission the first cassava-based sorbitol factory in Oyo State, in Nigeria, in Africa and the second in the world.
“Each time I am privileged to attend an event like this, I am again reminded that the decision we took in the early part of our administration to create the Oyo State Agribusiness Development Agency, separate from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, was a solid strategy.
“We took the decision and we chose to be deliberate about our actions. Seeing you all gathered here today to celebrate this agribusiness milestone at Psaltery International, we know that we made the right choice to be deliberate.
“We needed to move away from the years of government thinking they could run the business of agriculture. “Now, this is a private sector-led initiative but the government is in full support.
“Our strategy is based on one principle, and the principle is that there cannot be agricultural transformation without rural transformation. “If you look at our communities, there is no water, no good road. That was why one of the first projects we awarded was the 65km Moniya-Iseyin Road. So, our model has achieved great success for us.
“In the last three years, Oyo State has attracted over N23 Billion in agribusiness investment and about $125m in development partners-blended finances for rural roads, agro-logistics, markets and industrial hubs in investment into this sector.
“We have also been very strategic about how we apply the funds to accomplish our goals. So, the market had to drive the demands. And I promised our people that our infrastructural development will hunt our economy.
“Apart from Moniya-Iseyin road, we moved on to Apete-Akufo to take advantage of the Akufo Farm Settlement. We are not done, as we are presently constructing the 34.85km Oyo-Iseyin road.
“Lastly, we are constructing the 76.76km Ogbomoso-Fapote-Iseyin road. So, the catchment area for Psaltery is not just around Iseyin, Ado-Awaye and Ibarapa axes, you can go to other parts of Oke-Ogun and also get to Oyo zone.
“You can also connect to Ogbomoso zone. All the zones of Oyo State are connected with the hub now being Iseyin.
“Well, we will not stop here. “The Speaker (of Oyo State House of Assembly) has been on my case for the Ido-Eruwa road. “I am making the promise to you again that we will soon start reconstructing the 48km Ido-Eruwa road, because all of these will reduce travel time, which is essential to agribusiness success.”
The governor maintained that the administration will shift its focus to rehabilitating feeder roads so that the people of the state would have ease of movement within the cities, towns and communities and across the state.
“Our next focus is to rehabilitate the feeder roads across the state under the RAAMP. “Although we paid to access the counterpart funds in 2019 as soon as this administration came in, we have just received funds few months ago from the World Bank.
“So far, we have sent 3,000 youths to an integrated farm in Nasarawa State. Today, we can confidently say that agribusiness is taking hold in Oyo State.
“My request is, some of those youths we have trained should be accommodated here and we will support you to settle them in. You can sleep here with your two eyes closed if you are sure this place is safe and secure.
“And as a government, we will continue to prioritise the safety and security of all the citizens and residents of Oyo State. If you are doing what you are not supposed to be doing, we will remove you from this state.
“So, the last request was that you want pipe water from Eruwa dam to this place. This is one of the pet projects of Mr. Speaker, and he has been putting pressure on me to reactivate the Dam. Now, you have given me a good reason to accede to the request of the Speaker. So, we will look at it and I will say that you should consider it done,” the governor said.
In his remark, Nigeria’s former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who was represented by his wife, Mrs. Bola Obasanjo, commended Governor Makinde for implementing policies that encourage agribusiness.
He equally charged the governor to continue to encourage mechanised farming.