The Government of Osun, on Tuesday, disclosed that it has successfully engaged over 50 Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) since the introduction of its Food Support scheme one year ago.
The State Government noted that the impact of the scheme that was introduced to provide food support to vulnerable residents, has been very holistic and greatly felt by different sectors of the State’s economy.
This is even as the government marked the one year anniversary of the existence of the scheme with the flag-off of the 12th edition which held at the open space of the Local Government Service Commission, State Government Secretariat, Abere, Osogbo.
According to the government, the initiative has helped to feed 360,000 vulnerable residents with the multiplier effects on over one million people constituting various households that had benefited in one way or the other since the inception of the programme last year.
Speaking at the flagoff ceremony of the 12th edition of the programme, Governor Adegboyega Oyetola said the positive impact of the scheme on the economy of the State cannot be over-emphasized as it had helped to stimulate the economy through the promotion of local production, encouragement of local entrepreneurs and by extension, alleviation of poverty and hunger.
Oyetola, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Prince Wole Oyebamiji, said the government was fulfilled in the execution of the programme as promised on monthly basis saying its sustenance had in no measure contributed to the growth of the local economy.
The Governor said: “Exactly a year ago when we launched the monthly Food Support Scheme, a lot of people were skeptical about its sustenance and doubt that the programme would last for three months. But to the glory of God and in line with our promise that as long as I remain the Governor of the State, we will continue to feed 30,000 vulnerable citizens, we are here to mark the 12th edition of the scheme.
“Consequently, we decided to distribute gari as we did last month to boost local production and encourage our local entrepreneurs. When we are talking of agriculture, when you produce and there is nowhere to sell, you will not assist the economy of the State, so, I am sure that our cassava farmers today are happier than they were five months ago .
“What we are doing is the essence of government and what good governance stands for, people must be happy with the government and the best way to achieve that is to ensure economic base that is why our government has been working hard to build a better economic base for the development of the people of Osun and advancement of the State.
“Since we commenced the programme, the level of acceptance and feedback has been very unimaginable as being demonstrated so far by many of those that have benefitted in one way or the other from the initiative. As you can see, women have been extremely involved in the scheme, take for instance, in the production of gari, women play dominant role and don’t be surprised that there are women farmers who cultivate cassava too in this state because if you go through the Ministry of Agriculture, there is a unit for women in agriculture and they are extremely doing very well.
“So, women play a key role. In other clime, women are highly illustrious, they are industrious and they are intellectually based. I advice them not to take agriculture for granted so also our young ones, there are programmes and policies that have been designed to support whoever shows interest in farming.”
In his remarks, the Commissioner for Special Duties and Regional Integration, Engr. Olalekan Badmus, said the execution of the initiative has been very participatory, collective and holistic.
Badmus noted that the scheme had brought a paradigm shift to local production just as it had really helped to advance and promote the cause of local entrepreneurs who were hitherto not fully engaged.
He added that the testimonies received through the feedback mechanism provided to assess and evaluate the impact of the scheme has been very encouraging to the extent that people have keyed into the little opportunity provided to galvanise, stimulate and lubricate the economy of the State for the growth, progress and development of the State.
“Going by the 11th edition that we did, you can see that the level of appreciation was very good and basically the feed back has been very encouraging as this had helped in no measure to surge up the level of productions by the suppliers.
“You will agree with me that so far, we have done 360,000 households and the implication of this is that most of these households have father, mother and children and what this implies is that over one million lives have been impacted through this scheme.
“So, this is enormous and it is only in Osun you can talk of this people-oriented programme. The impact has been well felt and people appreciate it and they are also aware of what Mr. Governor has been doing to reach out to the people particularly the vulnerable citizens.
“So far, we have been able to engage 50 Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMSEs). We are happy to have made this feat within one year particularly on gari production, because we have been able to show that consistently, our local entrepreneurs can produce the product.
“This has helped them to expand their business, get more patronage through the awareness we have created for them among other advantages.
“Basically, this has been very impactful to them and I am sure this is going to improve the SMEs in the State particularly women entrepreneurs, because from the investigation we have done, women are largely involve in the production of most of the local staple foods”, he added.