Plans are being intensified to create job opportunities for the army of unemployed youths, and boost the state's economy through agriculture.
Governor Akeredolu stated this at the opening ceremony of the 9th Agric Week and Annual Conference of the School of Agriculture and Agricultural Technology, Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), with the theme; 'Green Economy: A Viable Option to Dwindling Oil Revenue', held at the institution in Akure.
Represented by his Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Agriculture, Akin Olotu, he noted that his administration is committed to unlocking the state's agricultural potentials for different categories of farmers and agro-entrepreneurs, be it small, medium or large scale, saying there is an organized and well structured programme to drive it.
Speaking on the theme of the conference, the Governor noted that "Oil wealth is ornamental, the real wealth, the fundamental one lies in the agricultural sector.
"At best, wealth from this should just be an icing on our cake. It should not be the cake, and this administration, with the support of institutions and individuals is committed to making it a task that will be accomplished.
"We are strongly of the opinion that adversity teaches better than prosperity. We are convinced that it is not facility that makes the difference, but ability. With good ability, one can create facility and this remains one of the fundamental principles of this administration ", he assured.
Akeredolu observed that the farmers and the research institutes including universities need to be properly linked up for the attainment of the goal.
"The gap among the research, the farm and government must be bridged. This triangular arrangement must be properly put in place, and the movement of questionnaire and resources within this triangle should be a matter of must", he said.
He further stated that the state government is committed to making credit available to the genuine farmers, adding that it would create a sustainable market for what is being produced in the state.
Earlier in his opening remarks, Vice-Chancellor of FUTA, Prof. Joseph Fuwape, stated that the conference is designed to unveil the mysteries and potentials in Agriculture to turn the economic fortune of our great Nation around and also to provide a forum to sensitise and create a better understanding of various opportunities that could be tapped to revamp our economy.
He observed that since the collapse of oil prices at the international market, the Nigerian economy has been plunged into recession, saying it behoves on our great Nation to think out of the box depending solely on oil to diversify with a renewed focus to other sectors of the economy.
The Vice-Chancellor who stated that Nigeria has been largely dependent on oil since its discovery, lamented the relegation of Agriculture to the back burner, which he described as the country's erstwhile economy's mainstay.
"The time to look inwards into agriculture and rescue this nation from economic recession is now and the Universities have responsibilities to be at the vanguard of research. I therefore beseech experts and participants to not only talk and listen, but to also determine to implement the outcomes of this conference"
"It is also my expectation that experts should be able to review current government policies to develop an agro-based economy vis-a-vis level of implementation so as to jointly lift Nigeria up and put Agriculture on the front burner once again", he stated.
He however, added that it is high time Nigerians view Agriculture as a beacon of hope and business venture adding that government should develop greater political will in providing enabling environment and necessary support for investment on Agriculture.
Also speaking, Dean School of Agriculture and Agricultural Technology (SAAT), Prof. S.O Akindele, harped on the urgent need for Nigeria to diversify its resource base to include the non-oil sector.
He added that the School was designated as a training centre for youths in Agriculture under the Federal Government Scheme for youth empowerment.