By Ayodeji Kazeem
Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Biodun Oyebanji, has emphasized his administration’s commitment to utilizing livestock and crop production to create sustainable job opportunities and wealth for the people of the state.
Governor Oyebanji stated this while inaugurating the Steering Committee of the Livestock Production and Resilience Support (L-PRES) Project held at the Governor’s Office in Ado Ekiti.
The governor who expressed the government’s intention to maximize the project’s potential, highlighted its aim of improving productivity, commercialization of targeted livestock production systems, and enhancing the resilience of livelihoods, especially those affected by farmer-herder conflicts.
He explained that the L-PRES project is a World Bank-assisted initiative in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ekiti State Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.
Mr Oyebanji noted that the initiative would restructure and upgrade poultry facilities at the Livestock Development Centre (LDC) Erifun, transform and create a livestock agribusiness centre, accommodate various livestock value chains, along with upgrading the central abattoir and cattle market along Iworoko Road to ensure public health and safety.
The governor further revealed plans are on to renovate and equip state veterinary hospitals with modern disease diagnostic kits and establish a modern cattle market, noting that these developments have potential as significant sources of revenue generation and job creation.
Emphasizing support for the project’s implementation, Governor Oyebanji articulated a strategy positioning the state as an attractive investment destination for agro-investors and foreign direct investment.
He remarked that the establishment of the Ekiti Special Agro-Processing Zone, SAPZ, would serve as a catalyst for economic growth and foster improved investment opportunities.
Charging the committee to provide policy guidelines and strategic direction, the governor urged individuals, groups, cooperative societies, and investors along the livestock value chain to capitalize on this opportunity.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Ekiti State Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, Mr. Ebenezer Boluwade expressed gratitude to the governor for his commitment to sustainable commercial animal agriculture.
Mr Boluwade highlighted Ekiti State’s strategic input to the Livestock Productivity and Resilience Support (L-PRES) project, citing the state’s fulfilment of preliminary conditions and its esteemed profile among participating states.
He pointed out that Ekiti State fulfilled all preliminary conditions, including the payment of counterpart funds and the availability of over 100 hectares of land designated as the Livestock Development Centre before being considered for the project.