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Governor Seyi Makinde’s Speech at the Commissioning of the Cassava-Based Sorbitol Factory at Psaltry International Company Ltd, Ado-Awaye

Governor Seyi Makinde delivering his speech at Psaltry International Company Ltd, Ado Awaye, Iseyin, Oyo State on August 4, 2022

Being the remarks by His Excellency, Seyi Makinde, the Executive Governor of Oyo State at the Commissioning of the first Cassava-Based Sorbitol Factory in Nigeria, Africa, and the second in the World on Thursday, August 4, 2022 at Psaltry International Company Ltd, Ado-Awaye, Iseyin, Oyo State

Let me start by thanking the management and staff of Psaltry International Company Ltd, for the warm reception given to us at this event.

It is not often that we get invited to be part of history. And today, Psaltry International Company Ltd is making history as we commission the first cassava-based sorbitol factory in Oyo State, Nigeria, Africa, and the second in the world.

Each time I am privileged to attend events like this one, I am again reminded that the decision we took at the early part of our administration to create an Oyo State Agribusiness Development Agency separate from the Oyo State Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development was a solid strategy. I remember how we went to Shonghai Farms in Benin Republic for a retreat and while there, we asked ourselves some honest questions about the way forward for agriculture in Oyo State. We had a choice; we could maintain the status quo and just let the sector run as it always has, achieving whatever results we could get along the way, or we could be deliberate about our actions. We chose the latter.

As I said at the beginning of my remarks, seeing you all gathered here today to celebrate this agribusiness milestone at Psaltry International, we know that back then, we made the right choice. We needed to move away from the years of government thinking they could run the business of agriculture, to a private-sector-led, public-sector-supported model. Our strategy is based on one principle. That principle is that there cannot be agricultural transformation without rural transformation. 

This model has achieved great success for us so far.

In the last three years, Oyo State has attracted over 23 billion Naira in agribusiness investments and 125 million dollars in development partners blended finance for rural roads, agro logistics, market, and industrial hubs in investments into the sector. We have also been very strategic about how we apply the funds to accomplish our goals. The market had to drive demand.

And so, we started off by ensuring that there is a linkage to markets by embarking on the construction of a viable road network linking the major zones. We knew that agribusinesses would only set up shop in our state if we made it easy for them to get around to the markets. We reconstructed the 65km Moniya-Ijaiye-Iseyin Road, moved to the 12km Apete-Awotan-Akufo Road then the 34.85km Oyo-Iseyin Road, and lastly to the construction of the 76.67km Ogobomoso-Fapote Iseyin Road. We also have other major road projects across Oyo State. But we will not stop here, we will reconstruct the 48km Ido-Eruwa Road to link Ibarapa and Ibadan zones.

Reducing travel time is essential to agribusiness success. As we say, time is money. Travel time saved is money saved. So, our next focus is to rehabilitate feeder roads across the state under the Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project (RAAMP). Although we paid the counterpart fund to access the funds in 2019, we only received the funds from the World Bank recently.

We are also aware that investors need a strong workforce. Off-takers need farmers. And our farmers were getting older. So, we needed a new generation of farmers. To address this, we planned to train and empower 10,000 youths in agribusiness. So far, we have sent 3,300 youths to an integrated farm at Gora, Nasarawa State where they were trained in technology-based agri-food systems. Today, we can confidently ask any agribusiness holding to come to Oyo State, because they will find a workforce that needs little or no training to succeed. On our part, we are also investing in these youths by empowering them to become agropreneurs. Just recently, we onboarded 100 of them and will be giving them enterprise support in crop production at the Fasola Agribusiness Industrial Hub.

Speaking of which, because we want Oyo State to become a thriving agribusiness hub in Africa, we are building agribusiness industrial hubs within the state. One of them is at Fasola, I’m sure that very soon, we will get all of you together to celebrate the completion of that project. And right after that, we will be moving to Eruwa and then Akufo.

So, the role of government so far has been to build the infrastructure needed for these businesses to locate their factories and farms here in Oyo State. Like Psaltry International Company Ltd did. Some people may say, they were here before we came into power, but we also know that businesses leave, they relocate when the enabling environment ceases to exist. And so, our promise is that we will continue to create an enabling environment for business to thrive.

I have heard some of the requests being made by Madam Oluyemisi, the things she would like us to do so that she feels even more comfortable doing business in Oyo State, I want to assure her that we will rehabilitate access roads to Alayide Village and the surrounding communities, a bridge linking the factory to its suppliers and the resuscitation of the Eruwa Dam.

So let me end by thanking Madam Oluyemisi Iranloye for the honour of declaring open the first Sorbitol factory in Oyo State and Nigeria. I congratulate her and her team for this remarkable achievement that will have a direct impact on the community and farmers in this area as well as the Oyo State economy. And we will now proceed with the commissioning to the glory of God and the for benefit of the good people of Oyo State.

Seyi Makinde

August 4, 2022

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