The Governor of the State of Osun, Adegboyega Oyetola, on Thursday flagged off Osun Food Support Scheme to mitigate the excruciating impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on vulnerable citizens in the State.
The governor said the initiative is another way of keeping faith with government’s promise to prioritise their welfare and general well-being.
He said the scheme has become necessary because available statistics point to the fact that many jobs have been lost with many sources of livelihoods significantly threatened as a result of the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic.
The scheme which begins from this month, will run till the end of the life of this Administration and it is designed to cater for the critical needs of 30,000 poor and vulnerable citizens, including youths, widows, the aged and people living with disabilities across the State on a monthly basis.
The beneficiaries were drawn across the nooks and crannies of the State, using the World Bank-sponsored Social Register and it would cater for the targets’ needs in a manner that is just and equitable.
Addressing the people at the flagg-off ceremony held at the open field, Local Government Service Commission, Abere, Osogbo, Oyetola said the scheme was also in fulfillment of the administration’s avowed determination to provide a buffer for the vulnerable, especially those, who, on account of the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, had been thrown off balance economically and emotionally.
He stressed that the administration’s ultimate goal, apart from feeding the vulnerable in the interim, was to also boost local food production and achieve food security in the long run.
The Governor disclosed that the food support scheme has been carefully calibrated, in line with the Administration’s policy of promoting small, micro and medium businesses to boost the local economy, saying, “to this end, all food items will be sourced locally to further encourage our local farmers and businesses”.
Oyetola said that to achieve the sustainability of the scheme, his Administration, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, had commenced the clearing of 10,000 acres of land, part of which would be allocated to youths who are genuinely interested in farming to engage them effectively and productively, saying 30 percent of the beneficiaries of the Food Support Scheme are youths.
He said the decision was to demonstrate that government is youth-friendly and committed to its youth engagement policies and programmes as reflected in the reasonable percentage allocated to them in the last budget.
Governor Oyetola stressed further that the Administration had begun work on two farm settlements in Ife and Ifon, which would be duly equipped with all relevant facilities, including residential, to make farming attractive to the young people
“Today’s event, is therefore, an eloquent affirmation that we are a responsible and compassionate Administration that knows and feels your pains and silent struggles and we will not relent until we provide the needed relief required to support you to regaining your balance.
“Through this Scheme, in the first instance, 30,000 beneficiaries across our State will be reached and provided with 5kg of food bags as a token of support.
“To make the exercise hitch-free and transparent, we have constituted a committee made of relevant State functionaries and key stakeholders with representations from the various religious bodies, trade groups, youth groups, minority groups, among others.
“We are adopting the use of the World Bank-sponsored Social Register to cater for beneficiaries in a manner that is just and equitable across the…