In 2019, a report indicates that Nigerian green economy worth $250 billion with the possibility of the sector playing critical roles in employment generation and eventual economic growth across the country. Several organisations and experts have discussed and still pointing out the significance of the green economy, which comprises low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive businesses including various opportunities in agriculture.
According to the United Nations Environmental Programme, “in a green economy, growth in employment and income are driven by public and private investment into such economic activities, infrastructure and assets that allow reduced carbon emissions and pollution, enhanced energy and resource efficiency, and prevention of the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services.”
Having seen inherent opportunities in green economy, state governments and the federal government have been investing in it in the last few years. Every year, the state and federal governments are spending a certain percent of their budgetary allocation on agriculture and sustainable environment, especially through flood mitigation and other activities on climate change control. In its 2020 budget, Osun state wants to spend N2,363,716,760.00 (3.82 per cent) on agriculture.
Prior to the allocation, Governor Gboyega Oyetola hinted that the state is “largely an agrarian economy with fertile and expansive landmass, we are your most- suitable location for agricultural investment. With a Land Bank in operation and our avowed commitment to making Osun the main hub of agriculture in South West Nigeria, we seek your partnership to further open up this sector via investment on large scale crop production, beef chain development, establishment of seed companies and partnership to develop farming services in the areas of quality seedling supply, farming equipment leasing, as well as development of financial and extension services to farmers, among others.”
In his efforts and patterns of engaging citizens and residents in the state, Governor Oyetola reiterates his readiness to advance the state through green economy. Monitoring the engagement on a social networking platform, our analyst reports that Governor Oyetola intends to use the sector as the bedrock of driving economic development and growth in the state because emergence of the next oil money will evolve from agricultural and farming activities. Governor Oyetola states that his administration will empower 5764 farmers in the state to grow up cassava, cotton and also engage in fish farming, with support from the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The expectation of the governor and his administration is that this effort and others such as open up of 12 local councils for aggressive farming through designated 2,000 hectares of land, training of about 1,000 farmers in specialised farming, distribution of improved seedlings, pesticides and herbicides would help in reducing poverty curve further in the state, most especially among the vulnerable households.
Meanwhile, since few days ago that Governor Oyetola disclosed his intent about the green economy, various reactions have continued to trail the intent. Majority of people want the processes that will be used for the selection farmers and other beneficiaries to be transparent. “I don’t know how government is going to drive the systems to identify true farmers and prevent fake farmers from benefiting from the programmes,” one of the governor’s followers on the social networking platform said.
“Almost every government came with idea of empowering farmers but always end up in failure, but I pray this Oyetola own will not fail because there is no recognized farmers Union in place rights now in Osun state,” another person pointed out.
Editor’s Note: Musa Ahmed provides background information for this report.