Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has received praises for his administration’s agricultural policies during the launch of Okun Rice in Abeokuta, the  Ogun State capital.

Obasanjo, who was the chief launcher at the event held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), was praised for standing by farmers during his eight-year administration.

Chairman, Hyst Global Business Limited (producers of Okun Rice), Biodun Onalaja, said but for the ex-president, who stood by him through thick and thin, during his travails, his aspiration of being an entrepreneur would have gone with the winds. “This rice project was made possible by the assistance given by our chief launcher, former President Obasanjo. While in office he had food self-sufficiency for the nation as one of his goals. He assisted us to set up the company while also blazing the trail for people like us as farmers. Here is a person, who not only talks agriculture, but walks the talk of a farmer and agro-entrepreneur,’’he said.

Onalaja narrated how the 10 hectares of land he acquired in Taraba State for rice planting was overwhelmed by the 2012 River Benue floods and had to be abandoned. He said he had to relocate to Kogi State, where through the help of ex President Obasanjo and the support from former Agric Minister, Akinwunmi Adesina, he was able to secure 1,000 hectares, and two years later, began farming.


Onalaja also thanked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Firstbank Limited, Unity Bank and Provident Bank for their support to Hyst Global Business.

He urged the Federal Government to reduce food import, assist farmers with finance, land allocation, clearing, tractor and seedling distribution, among others. Low interest, he canvassed, would encourage more agro-entrepreneur.

Obasanjo said the event was the celebration of success. Describing agriculture as a difficult area to invest in, he praised Onalaja for his doggedness, persistence and stubbornness in spirit’. “You have gone through the ups and downs. You could have chickened out,’’ Obasanjo said, adding that Onalaja’s determination to succeed pushed him on.

Obasanjo, who called for sustenance of government policies, said Nigeria has what it takes to be self-sufficient in food production.

Agribusiness Information