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A 30-member Technical Working Group of Framework for Responsive and Inclusive Land Investment in Agriculture (FRILIA) has been inaugurated in Abeokuta, Ogun State, in line with Executive Order No. 1 of 2020, for a seamless access to land by farmers and investors.

Inaugurating the Technical Working Group on behalf of the State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, Commissioner for Finance and the Chief Economic Adviser in the State, Mr Dapo Okubadejo described the inauguration as another milestone as Ogun is the first to set up FRILIA among the Southern States, being among the Working Groups that would deliver the objectives of Ogun State Economic Transformation Programme (OGSTEP), a World Bank Project.

According to him, part of FRILIA objectives was to come up with professional and managerial framework that would engender seamless land acquisition and avert undue bottlenecks associated with land issues, between the government and investors, especially farmers, thereby attracting more investors as Ogun is ready for business.

“This is a very important milestone in the history of Ogun State because Ogun is the second State in the Federation to inaugurate FRILIA which involves use and management of land, a very important economic resource. This Technical Working Group is to come up with a framework that will guide the operationalization and effective use and management of land, taking into cognisance the need for community agenda by leveraging on economic importance of land. What we are doing today is to pro-actively attract investors because about 74 percent of our land mass in Ogun State are suitable for agriculture and industries”, he said.

Earlier in his remark, Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Adeola Odedina noted that the inauguration of FRILIA was another achievement for improved business environment and place Ogun on top of agricultural intervention that will attract global attention.

He hinted that apart from abundant fertilized land, Ogun is close to market as well as to raw materials, hence the need for law that will guide the implementation of land allocation and correct the disconnect between concerned communities and agricultural value-chains.

“We are sitting on fertilized land, we are close to market and raw materials. If we have that kind of land and we need to implement the law guiding it. 80 percent of land allocated in the past have issues in the communities. There has been a disconnect between communities and agricultural value-chains and FRILIA is going to address that because there must be social acceptability in relation to investment in our farming communities. FRILIA framework that will be responsible and inclusive for reforming land access in the State”, he hinted.

His counterpart in the Ministry of Budget and Planning, Mr Olaolu Olabimtan said FRILIA would determine the level of investment in the State, charging members of the Technical Working Group to be up to the temancipating the people to get prosperity in their investments.

The Project Coordinator, OGSTEP, Engr. Oluwatoyin Jokosenumi disclosed that this administration secured the approval of the World Bank to embark on OGSTEP operations, which he said focus on agricultural value-chains, enabling business environment as well as skill and capacity building for technical education, while agriculture alone is grouped into FRILIA, Value-chain Development Programme (VCDP) and Infrastructure that will improve agricultural practice. 

Jokosenumi said further said that as a responsible government, this administration was poised to make life better for the people, securing the wellbeing and welfare of the people through food security and food sovereignty.

Speaking on behalf of the newly inaugurated Technical Work Group, Mr Suraj Fasola appreciated the Governor for constituting the Working Group, promising that they would work harmoniously to realise the objectives of FRILIA and not let down the State.

Shortly after, Commissioner for Agriculture Dr. Adeola Odedina in Company of his Permanent Secretary, Dr. Dotun Sorunke met with the Executive Members of Fisheries Society of Nigeria (FISON), Ogun State Chapter where the Chairman, Prof. Olubunmi Agbebi reeled out the challenges facing aquaculture and fishery business in the State and the need for Government’s intervention. 

She enumerated high cost of feed, need for price regulation and market control, lack of fish processing technique, among others, as the challenges facing aquaculture business, calling for Government’s support and easy access to fund.

Responding, Dr Odedina reeled out Prince Dapo Abiodun’s vision for the State which include, support to small holder farmers, food and nutrition security, job creation and industrialisation as evident by the nomination of Ogun State by CBN as its new focus on aquaculture, coca and oil palm. Over 3,000 Ogun indigenes are currently undergoing enrolment by CBN for its Anchor Borrowers’ Programme.

“We have commodity associations, Fish Farmers Associations, Fishery Society of Nigeria and so on. You can only use technology to raise your yield. Ogun State has the highest hub for aquaculture. The State Government is ready to assist aquaculture nominees with digging of ponds, access to loan with free training as well as linkage of people to off-takers”, he assured

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