The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said the state would be sustained by a robust agriculture-based economy in the aftermath of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, with its ongoing investments to spur agribusiness, agro-processing and other agro-allied sectors in the state.
The governor disclosed this during the inspection of ongoing construction work at the Edo State College of Agriculture, Iguoriakhi campus, in Ovia South West Local Government Area of the state.
According to the governor, the state government is focused on developing human capital in agriculture, agribusiness, agro-processing and allied fields to groom and harness knowledge and skillset of its teeming youth population for an agriculture-based post COVID-19 economy.
He noted, “This project has become more important to us as an administration because after the COVID-19 pandemic, we would not have the money to rely on import but rather grow what we need to consume and process our produce for export.
“If the state must move on after the COVID-19 pandemic, we must improve capacity, knowledge and skills of our people. Our focus is on creating an agriculture-based post COVID-19 economy. We can’t do that without skilled people to run the economy.”
Obaseki added that his administration is redesigning the master plan of the College of Agriculture, devoid of politics, to serve the state’s economy.
He said a renowned Professor of Agriculture is guiding the state on ensuring the college is transformed into a world-class School of Agriculture, as the faculty and accreditation of its programmes are well planned out.
“We are starting with the administrative blocks and few faculties and yearly we would continue to expand. The school will specialise in extension services; run short and intensive courses, and train young men and women to support farmers in various communities. It is not a school where you only get certificate, but a place to impart academic knowledge and practical training as students will be engaged in farming in conjunction with the communities,” he said.
Obaseki added, “We have a lot of policemen and local vigilante to beef up security in the area with constant electricity supply. This will enable staff feel secured and safe.”
Consultant for the remodelling of the college, Arc. Giles Omezi assured that the remodelled college will be ready by September 2020 for new set of students.
“What we are doing now is to build the initial structures to get the first set of students by September this year. We are building administrative blocks, dormitory and other essential infrastructure for the school to offer six different courses,” he said.