By Ayobami Agboola
An oncoming Non Governmental Organisation, the Forum for Nation Builders and Social Development (FNB) has presented agriculture and tourism as panacea to economic crisis facing Osun state, saying that the state government would make sizeable income from the two sectors.
The FNB, which held an economic summit on December 18, 2015 to rob minds on how to bail out the state from the current economic quagmire confronting the state, said that it was seriously disturbed with the state condition.
The group charged the state government to explore the economic potentials of Agriculture and Tourism to generate income for the state.
It said that the adverse effect of dwindling federal allocation and low Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in the state would be drastically cushioned if the government could invest in agriculture and tourism which are strategic to the economic development of the state.
According to the group in a communique issued at the end of an economic summit tagged: Enhancing Osun Economic Development : Agriculture and Tourism as Key Indicators, there is urgent need to shift the state’s focus from the monthly federal allocation to agriculture and tourism.
The communique which was made available to our correspondent on Sunday was signed by Messrs Ayo Odeyemi, Convener of the group, Babajide Bewaji, Chairman of the Summit Committee and Ismaeel Uthman, Secretary of the committee.
To promote agriculture and enhance farming specifically, the group suggested that the state government should revamp the moribund farm settlements in the state and upgraded them into Agricultural Industrial Centres to be clustered in a community of 5000 people who are predominantly inclined to farming.
The agricultural centres, the group advised, should have state-of-the-art amenities that hitherto entice rural dwellers to cities:internet, cable TV, night life and so on.
Government should also make provision for crop mapping that will be made according to crop niche areas, and there should be mass production of crops with emphasis on production, processing and export, said the group in the communique.
The group stated that the state government and indigenous entrepreneurs should work together on breeds that will attract international acceptability, as well as ensuring agriculture extension services to educate conservative farmers to imbibe modern method of farming.
According to the Forum, the focus of government in agriculture should be for both production for consumption) and industrialisation to create employment opportunities.
To enhance tourist for economic development of the state, the group stated that tourism centers across the state should be seen as cultural heritage, treated so and upgraded to possible standard of attraction, to bring good revenue to government.
The communique reads in part: “The tourist sites be developed with accommodation facilities(i.e Hotels). That the state government should partner with private investors to build hotels and relaxation centres on Build -Operate-and-Transfer(BOT) basis.
“That there should be production of brochure and data collection of the tourist centres in Osun, and be distributed to embassies, hotels, business centres and other strategic places across the country.
“That the state government should beautify each of the tourist centres with state colour and logo. That the government should launch a one week tourist programme for the state, which should come up in the first week of August every year.
“That some prayer mountains in the state, like Oke Baba Abiye in Ede and the prayer mountain in Ikoyi could also serve as good tourist sites by developing infrastructures and creating a toll fare for revenue generation. That the government should create an independent Situation Office to anchor tourism development.”
The group submitted that Osun state is one of the states in Nigeria that is blessed with tourist centres and arable land that would enhance agricultural productivity, urging the state government to further pump money into agriculture and tourism to boost its economy.
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