OYO State government has disbursed N224.8 million to about 2,541 small holder farmers across the state.The state governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi disclosed this at the weekend while speaking at the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) in Africa, held at the Premier Hotel, Ibadan.The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Chief Moses Adeyemo, reiterated the commitment of his administration to assist farmers to move from subsistence level to commercial production of some crops.According to him, 'this administration is committed to improving agricultural productivity as a means of creating wealth and jobs for the unemployed and abundant food production at affordable prices to all and sundry' The governor, according to a release signed by the deputy governor's Special Assistant on Media, Mr Sola Adegoke, said to achieve the set objective, his administration had unveiled the first set of 141 YES-O agricultural cadets, as agricultural extension agents under the state's Youth Empowerment Scheme tagged: YES-O as well as launched the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) to boost agricultural extension delivery in the state. While expressing the support of his administration to the domestication of biotechnology in Nigeria, Senator Ajimobi charged the forum to promote the new technology which, he said would enhance agricultural productivity in the country as the case in the developed world.He also expressed the belief that the Forum would provide an avenue to enlighten members of the public on the benefit derivable from the adoption of the new technology and as well correct the misgivings about biotechnology. The governor also disclosed that based on its comparative advantage, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture had selected Oyo State to participate in eight commodities under its agricultural transformation agenda. These, he said, included cassava, cocoa, oil palm, maize/soya bean, cotton, fisheries and livestock. Speaking on the occasion, the Director-General/Chief Executive Officer, National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Professor Bamidele Ogbe Solomon, expressed the readiness of his agency to partner with the Oyo state government and the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), with a view to moving Nigeria forward in the area of biotechnology.He decried the absence of bio-safety law in Nigeria, disclosing that the 'Bio-safety Bill was passed by the 6th National Assembly on June 1, 2011, but still it is awaiting the assent of Mr President.'The NABDA boss, therefore, appealed to President Goodluck Jonathan to expedite action on the assent of the Bio-safety Bill into law, adding that the step would enable Nigeria to commercialise agricultural biotechnology.Earlier in his welcome address, the Oyo State Commissioner for Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development, Hounourable Bimbo Kolade, stressed the need for Nigeria to embrace agricultural biotechnology to banish hunger and malnutrition in the country. He, therefore, called for a common stand on biotechnology at the national level to provide policy makers and the general public with evidence-based information needed to access such technologiess. Click here to read full news..