BY ABIODUN NEJO
Farmer and university administrator, Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), has charged the Federal Government to initiate policies targeted at attracting youths and undergraduates to farming.
Babalola, who is the founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), expressed fear of widespread hunger and abject poverty with the warped impression by youths that farmers belong to the downtrodden rung of the society due to poor government’s policies to uplift commercial farming.
The farmer and philanthropist advised the Federal Government to reestablish the moribund Education Bank and rename it Education and Entrepreneurial Bank to enable undergraduates have access to loans to fund their education and go into farming after graduation to reduce unemployment, hunger and poverty.
The ABUAD founder, who spoke at the weekend during the grand finale of 2018 Afe Babalola Agriculture –Expo (ABA-EX), said: “It is imperative that we revive agriculture to ensure that Nigeria regains its lost glory in that all-import realm and in overall interest of the people as any nation that pays little or no attention to agriculture does so at his own peril”.
At the occasion, 48 farmers across the 16 local government areas of the state received a sum of N6 million as rewards from Babalola to expand the scope of farming in the state just as Mr Clement Ogunsakin, from Emure Ekiti, received a cash prize of N1 million as the best farmer of the year in Ekiti.
Babalola told the farmers and other stakeholders that he emptied his bank accounts after selling off his property to be able to establish ABUAD in his quests to change the face of education in Nigeria.
He urged the farmers, who received between
N50,000 and N1million as empowerment from the philanthropist to invest the reward to expand food production in the state.