The Government of Osun has attributed the steady reduction in the poverty index of the state to the policies and social investment programmes it introduced to take care of the masses.
According to the government, these policies and social investment programmes have helped to turn around the socio-economic fortunes of the state and improve the welfare and general well-being of the citizens.
The government also described the economic value-chain of its monthly Food Support Scheme as the major factor through which the state has sustained its status and rating index as one of the least poverty stricken states in the country.
The State Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola stated these on Friday while flagging off the 18th edition of the scheme, at the multiple hall, Local Government Service Commission, Abere, Osogbo.
Oyetola, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Prince Wole Oyebamiji, said the sustainability of the scheme was an indication that the government was committed to the welfare of the citizens particularly the downtrodden and vulnerable people.
“This is the eighteenth edition of the scheme, which means in the last one and a half years, we have been faithfully taking care of the masses.
“We did promise that as long as Adegboyega Oyetola remains the Governor of Osun, he will continue to take care of the feeding of the vulnerable. So far, this is the eighteenth edition and it has gone round to 540,000 households as many had equally benefitted directly or indirectly. Don’t forget, in each household, there must be a minimum of two people, and if you multiply this, you can see the multiplier effect of the scheme in their lives.
“Secondly, you will recall that agriculture is one of the important sector of our economy and indeed one of the pillars of our government, we did promised that we shall ensure that agriculture improves for the benefit of the people as the population is escalating, and as a State we have the responsibility to foresee what may happen in the future that is why we have been able to take this to fruition.
“On this premise, we insisted that young men and women should be interested in farming and to the glory of God today, many have keyed into this planting cassava in large quantity. So, supplying Gari in the last three months, it is an indication that we have the capacity to feed ourselves.
“Talking on the economic-value-chain, this is limitless. As we all know, many have roles to play before this end product could be achieved, among those are, the growers, the person that weed, cultivate, the person that will harvest, the processors, the sellers, the transporters and of course the beneficiaries. So, it has a lot of economic value which is the change effect of the policies of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola.
“There are lot of things that have been done in the area of agriculture. Our people are getting encouraged on daily basis, and they have embraced farming to some larger extent. Gari is a staple food in Nigeria, they have gone to the farm, they have produced, harvested and processed and as a government, we have a responsibility to support them and provide ready-made markets”, he added.
Fielding questions from journalists after the flag-off, Commissioner for Regional Integration and Special Duties, Engr Olalekan Badmus, described the scheme as a facelift of socio-economic rejuvenation.
According to him, aside the life-impacting and life-changing aspect of the scheme, it has been playing a significant role on the poverty reduction index of the State through its economic value chain.
“It is based on this and other policies of the government that Osun is rated 3rd least poverty state in Nigeria, and this feat is attained simply because of the keen interest of Governor Oyetola in the welfare and general well-being of the people that had given birth to the formulation and implementation of pro-masses and people-centred policies.
“Ounje Ileri in particular has provided a platform to empower a lot of people while a lot of young and old entrepreneurs had also keyed into the policies to stimulate the economy and improve on the productivity capacity. This has helped to reduce poverty in the State.
“We have been able to encourage and build entrepreneurs through this scheme. We have been able to encourage our cassava producers to continue to produce. In the last few months, their production capacity has improved and inspite the heavy purchase and government patronage, it has either affected the production capacity nor the market price.
“This has shown that Osun has the capability and capacity for mass production. This has been what we have been using to encourage our farmers as young entrepreneurs have come into the scheme. We have been able to encourage so many people, and during the production process, a lot of people are also engaged.
“The feedback generally has been very fantastic and satisfactory and we have been able to reach out to 540,000 direct beneficiaries so far,” he added.