The founder of the Afe Babalola University of Ado Ekiti, Chief Afe Babalola, has offered to buy Ekiti farmers’ produce in a bid to save them from the agony of produce wastages and loss of huge profits as a result of lack of storage facilities.
Babalola gave the indication at the weekend during the closing of the 2017 edition of “Afe Babalola Agricultural Exhibition” code named ABA-EX 2017, which took place at the Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, (ABUAD).
Babalola said he was moved to taking the decision to intervene in the welfare and well-being of farmers so as to revolutionalise farming and make it attractive again, like it used to be before the discovery of oil.
He noted that most Nigerian farmers were usually compelled to sell their farm produce at ridiculous prices out of the fear that such farm produce might lose value or get destroyed as a result of lack of facilities to preserve them.
According to him, investigations had revealed that apart from lack of working capital, storage facilities as well as modern farm implements, the major reason why many farmers suddenly abandon the farm in preference for other lucrative businesses in the urban cities is lack of access to ready market for their produce.
He said it was his belief that when farmers are given a ride for their sweat, they would feel a sigh of relief, and consequently have money to feed their family and also send their children to school.
“As from now, I wish to announce to all farmers in Ekiti that they are free to bring their farm produce in bulk to us here, as we are ready to by them and pay appropriate prices.
“We have all the facilities in ABUAD Farms to accommodate as well as process whatever volume of both cash and food crops that we have with us, we do not only prepare them for local consumption, we also prepare them for export.
“I am always moved to pity when i see hard-working farmers not making commensurable profits on their farms despite toiling day and night to ensure they have good harvest, i do not want this ugly situation to continue”, he said.
Declaring the Exhibition close, the state governor, MrAyodeleFayose, who was represented by his deputy, Prof. KolapoOlusola thanked Babalola for his intervention in both the agric and education sectors, describing him as the best most critical partner and stakeholder in the running of government.
Besides, 73-year old farmer, Alhaji Olayinka emerged the overall best farmer of year 2017 ABA-EX edition, with AfeBabalola’s star price of N1m cash paid to him on the spot.
He emerged overall winner out of about 300 other farmers earlier shortlisted from among leading farmers in all the 16 local government Areas of the state while two farmers each, from the council areas got N150,000 and N100,000 respectively for first and second positions.