The Oyo State Government has commenced the fourth phase of the distribution of agricultural inputs to 2,537 farmers across the state with the distribution of cassava stems, hybrid maize seedlings, herbicides and nap-sack sprayers.

While flagging off the exercise at Eruwa, Ibarapa East Local Government, Oyo State Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Barrister Olasunkanmi Olaleye, who also doubles as the Chairman, SAfER Food Security Sub-Committee, hinted that the distribution of inputs to farmers was also going on simultaneously at Igboora, Ibarapa Central Local Government and Ayete in Ibarapa North Local Government.

He recalled that N1billion loan was disbursed to farmers through accredited microfinance banks, while thousands of poultry, fishery and piggery farmers had also benefited in the first, second and third phases of the inputs distribution exercise to farmers across the state.

He noted that the exercise was to ensure that Oyo State had abundant food supply for the people of the state and also to reduce prices of foodstuffs so as to cushion the effect of economic hardship on residents of the state.

He said: “Today, we are commencing the fourth phase of Sustainable Action for Economic Recovery (SAfER), food security sub-sector.

“You know that, the SAfER programme has different sub-sectors, we have the food palliatives that have been distributed, we have the one on transportation, we have the one on health and this one is on food security”.

He continued: “So what we are doing today is distribution of inputs to farmers, we are distributing cassava stems, special maize seeds that can germinate faster, we are also giving out nap-sack sprayers to farmers across Oyo State, and in addition to that, we are also giving them herbicides to protect their crops against invasion of insects and all that.

“So, in this fourth phase, not less than 2,537 farmers will benefit. You will recall that, before now, there had been three phases of food security sub-sector interventions. We have given out free maize to poultry farmers, we have given out free feeds to fish farmers, we are still distributing feeds, PKC and disinfectant to piggery farmers and this is the fourth phase.”

He assured farmers that the state government through SAfER programme would in a few days commence free vaccination for livestock and equally distribute feeds to support livestock farmers, adding that, subsidy on use of tractors to cultivate their farms would commence in two weeks.

Olaleye said: “By next week, free vaccination of cattle and distribution of feeds to sheep and goat farmers will also commence across Oyo State. In the next ten days as well, subsidy on the use of tractors will commence, so if you cultivate five acres, the government will pay for two and a half acres, if you cultivate ten hectares, the government will pay for five acres for you.

“You will recall that the governor has distributed, through different finance houses, N1billion loan to farmers, more than three thousand farmers benefited from that. So, the whole essence is to ensure there Oyo State has abundant and sufficient food supply to bring down the prices of foodstuffs.”

Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, Mr Rafiu Saheed , thanked the state government for the farm inputs support, saying that the materials would have significant effects on their farms and produce. He, therefore, urged other beneficiaries not to sell the farm inputs but to make judicious use of them to complement the efforts of the government.