Rotimi Agboluaje, Ibadan
Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State said his government is set to initiate the process for the cloning of Shanghai Farm in the state within the next three months in order to make the state the food basket of Nigeria.
Ajimobi stated this after an inspection visit to the headquarters of Songhai farms located in Wando, Port’o Novo in the Benin Republic.
Ajimobi who in the company of the Secretary to Oyo State Government, Alhaji Olalekan Ali, the state Commissioner for Agriculture Barrister Oyewole Oyewumi and other top government functionaries expressed amazement at the high level of agricultural development in Songhai.
He noted that since the Songhai integrated farm was owned and operated by a Nigeria-American citizen, the idea could also be replicated it in Oyo State through a private-partnership arrangement.
He declared that he was highly impressed by the sustainable development he noticed in Songhai farm which has enabled the farm to produce all its consumables and also export its products.
The governor lauded the founder, Rev. Father Nzamujo for inculcating in the minds of the youth of Benin Republic the virtue of hard work rather than begging for sustenance.
In his remark, the founder and Managing Director of the farm, Rev. Nzamujo, who expressed his willingness to assist Oyo State in floating a similar project in the state, said the farm had been able to contribute immensely to the economic growth of Benin Republic.
He said Songhai Farm, which was established about 30 years ago is currently the highest employer of labor in Benin Republic and it has been able to change the mindset of the younger people to realize the dignity in labor.
He said Africans suffer from ‘intellectual diarrhea’ as most of the African leaders are not willing to put their idea into practice for the benefit of the people, stressing that Governor Ajimobi would be leaving a legacy that would be difficult to surpass if he could replicate Songhai farm in Oyo state.
He said Songhai Farm has created the network of young farmers and inculcated the virtue of discipline on the Songhai workers coupled with culture of delayed gratification rather than culture of immediate benefit.
He said the farm which is technology driven is set to give Africa a new face of development and has attracted commendation from all over the world.
Songhai farm, which was established about 30 years ago, has its headquarters located in Wando Porto Novo with seven other farm sites spread across the Republic of Benin.
The farm is currently occupying not less than 2,000 hectares of land with interest in fisheries, dog breeding, snail farming, quail bird keeping, grass cutter breeding, poultry keeping rice production, palm and vegetable oil production, bottled water and juice making, soap making and above all the plastic with which the water and juice are been packaged.
Songhai farm is also into power generation through the bio mas which produced the bio gas, which is used for domestic cooking, the performance of welding and also to generate energy for the whole farm.