Renowned legal figure Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) has urged the Federal Government to breathe life into dormant farm settlements nationwide, emphasizing the critical role they play in ensuring food security across the country,leadership reports.
The distinguished founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), recently honored as the “African Man of The Year In Food Security,” underscored the importance of government support for Nigerian farmers. His advocacy extends beyond mere food crops, encompassing cash crops to foster not only large-scale food production but also the revival of specific crops like cocoa in the West, rubber and palm oil in Edo and Delta states, and the historical groundnut pyramids in the northern region.
Speaking at a press conference held at ABUAD in recognition of his 2024 African Man of the Year in Food Security award from the Initiative For Green Sustainability, the elder statesman emphasized the centrality of agriculture in sustaining human life across diverse cultures. Chief Babalola, acknowledging the geometric increase in the world’s population, highlighted the static nature of available land, stressing the inevitable connection between sustenance and survival.
Additionally, Chief Babalola emphasized the necessity for direct federal government allocations to local governments, bypassing intermediary state governments. He proposed that local governments should establish facilities offering subsidized farm implements for rent and produce affordable seedlings for sale to farmers.
In his commitment to promoting agriculture, Chief Babalola shared concrete steps taken at ABUAD, including a 50% reduction in school fees for agriculture students and the provision of a N250,000 seed fund for every agriculture graduate from Afe Babalola University. He concluded by urging the government to resurrect the historic farm settlements pioneered by Awolowo in the former Western Region and expand this initiative to other states in the nation.