The proposed Cash and Food Crops Marketing Board Law, when operational, will replicate the defunct Western Region Marketing Board, an initiative of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, towards ensuring availability of food and cash crops to end users.
The Speaker of the Ogun State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Suraju Ishola Adekunbi, stated this while declaring open a stakeholders’ forum on the bill titled: “H.B. No. 035/OG/2019- A Bill for a law to Establish the Ogun State Cash and Food Crops Marketing Board and make provision for the purchase of produce for export and for matters connected therewith”, held at the Assembly Complex, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.
Adekunbi noted that the proposed bill would help revive the strides of Chief Awolowo in the 50s, put in place to uplift the standard of the western region economy, explaining that the remains of the well-developed agricultural programmes were now abandoned structures of various warehouses and offices of the board.
The Speaker added that the bill when passed by the Assembly and signed into law by the State Governor, would address food scarcity by providing storage facilities, while ensuring that cash and food crops were available all year round.
He opined that the bill would create a Marketing Board that would make arrangements for purchase, grading, clearing, storage, preservation, sorting, marketing, as well as the distribution of cash and food crops throughout the State.
The Speaker assured that the input from stakeholders would be considered in the preparation of a legal backup towards bringing back the cash and food crops Marketing Board, expressing optimism that the bill would upgrade the agriculture sector of the State, thereby ensuring better life for the teaming populace.
In their contributions, stakeholders including; a former member of the Assembly, Hon. Fasiu Bakenne, representatives of the State Chapters of Palm kernel Buyers Association of Nigeria, Ipokia branch, Barr. Kehinde Bamiwola, All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Prince Olusegun Dasaolu, Olabisi Onabanjo University Graduate Farmers Cooperative Societies, Mr. Von Oluwatobi, amongst others, lauded the Assembly for the bill, which they described as a catalyst that would speed up agricultural practices in the State.
They canvassed for the inclusion of representatives of crops and cash producers, as well as buyers Association on the board towards ensuring equal participation of critical stakeholders in agricultural businesses in the State, with a call for improved funding to the sector, while urging government to devise means to tackle herdsmen- farmers’ conflicts.
In their separate submissions, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Lydia Fajounbo and her Agriculture counterpart, Mrs. Abosede Ogunleye sought for adjustments of certain clauses in the bill to ensure effective implementation.