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Abandoned farm settlements now hideout for bandits, kidnappers – FUNAAB VC

Abandoned farm settlements scattered across the country now serve as hideouts and safe havens for kidnappers and bandits.

Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Prof Olusola Kehinde, said this during the maiden agricultural summit of Al-Hikmah University, Ilọrin.

The programme was themed Meeting the Challenges of Food Insecurity in Nigeria: Agricultural Technology to the Rescue.

To this end, Prof Kehinde called the government at both federal and state levels to resuscitate these facilities to improve food and animal production in the country.

“In the past, the western region government went into farm settlement schemes to improve agriculture, generate employment and boost food production.

“Now, the facilities are still there but they have been abandoned and become hideouts for bandits and kidnappers to terrorise the citizens.

“These facilities have a very large expanse of land and one wonders why it is difficult for the government at the federal and state levels to resuscitate them to boost agriculture”, the VC who was represented by Prof Adebayo Oni noted.

Vice Chancellor, Al-Hikmah University, Prof Noah Yusuf, said the main impetus for the summit was its 13th convocation lecture by Vice President Kashim Shettima.

According to him, Al-Hikmah University is convinced that the deployment of agricultural technologies is the eluding solution for the country’s food sufficiency.

On his part, the Executive Director of Nigeria Stored Product Research Institute (NSPRI), Prof Lateef Sanni, said Nigeria is lagging behind in the deployment of technology to improve agriculture and food production despite its potentials which has led to a lot of wastages and low yields.

He therefore called on the university and other institutions of learning in Nigeria to deploy it’s vast array of lands and knowledge of agriculture to empower students and improve access to food.

In his remark, the host of the programme and acting dean, faculty of agriculture, Al-Hikmah University, Dr Olurunnisola Kola Saheed noted the news for investment in homegrown technologies to improve food production and revenue.

He added that agriculture with its value chain and proper deployment of technology offers the biggest platform to grow the country and reduce youth unemployment especially.