The founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, Aare Afe Babalola, has rewarded hardworking and outstanding farmers across Ekiti State as part of efforts to encourage farming and support farmers financially.
Babalola, who doled out N13.2m to the benefiting farmers, said the yearly gesture was in fulfilment of his dream, and also part of his contributions to the ongoing efforts to revitalise farming as well as reduce unemployment in the country.
The ABUAD founder, who spoke in Ado Ekiti on Saturday at the grand finale of the 2021 edition of the Annual Afe Babalola Agricultural Expo and UNESCO Youth Empowerment, where he distributed cheques to the farmers, called for the establishment of a special agricultural bank by the Federal Government.
Babalola, who advised farmers to organise themselves into cooperative societies “to enable them to buy farm implements either with their own money contributed by members or borrow from the Bank of Industry, added, “I am appealing to the Federal Government to please establish an Agricultural Bank where farmers can obtain loans at a low-interest rate with their cooperative societies acting as guarantors”.
He added, “From next year, your farm products will not waste away as we will be buying from you at good prices and even collect from your farm. That will save you transportation costs. I can beat my chest that you and I together have begun the agricultural revolution in this country. It was my dream and it has become a reality.”
At the event, Emmanuel Aribasoye from Ado Council, who was declared the overall best farmer in the state for 2021, got N2m, while five best farmers in each of the 16 councils, who emerged as first, second third, fourth and fifth positions, got N250,000, N150,000, N100,000, N75,000 and N50,000 respectively.