By Afusat Agunbiade-Oladipo
Ilorin – More than 800 farmers are to partake in the Harmony Agric International Fair (HAGIF), which would hold between Nov. 12 and Nov. 15 in Ilorin.
Ms. Iyabo Amaajo, the Group Head, Agriculture Division, Harmony Holdings, made this known to journalists in Ilorin on Monday.
She said the trade fair, which had “Sustaining Food Security’’ as its theme, intended to chart a way forward for the growth of the agricultural sector.
She said that the fair was targeted at boosting agriculture, not only in Kwara but also in the country at large.
Amaajo said that the fair would aid efforts to restructure farming and improve its commercial viability in a way that farmers would have nothing to lose after harvests.
She said that the state government created the Agriculture Division in Harmony Holdings to engender a synergy among the agency, the ministry of agriculture and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with regard to projects that were initiated for farmers.
“We are going to address the issue of off-taker, demand-driven agriculture. That is, we already have people who would buy farm produce from farmers before they even go for planting
“With the success of the maiden edition of the fair last year, we are able to gather enough information that enabled the government to support us and give some money to farmers.
“This year, we have farmers in 100 groups and our focus is to restructure their farming techniques; they should see agriculture as a serious business.
“We want to open other areas of agriculture production, while giving farmers advice whenever they need it.
“Those expected at the fair include foreigners, off-takers, inputs suppliers, out growers and agricultural research institutes like IITA which would proffer suggestions on how to get good quality produce.
“Besides, other expected participants at the fair include tertiary institutions from different parts of the country,’’ she said.
In his remarks, Mr Segun Soewu, the Director-General of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Agency, said that the fair was one of the government’s strategies aimed at encouraging entrepreneurs to invest in agricultural projects.
He said that the fair was also a way of attracting the collaboration of foreign agricultural experts for efforts to boost agricultural production in the country. (NAN)