Farmers Association Seeks Makinde’s Intervention in Akufo Farm Settlement

Farmers Association Seeks Makinde’s Intervention in Akufo Farm Settlement

Funmi Ogundare 

Farmers association of Akufo Farm Settlement in Ido Local Government area of Oyo State have called on the Oyo State Governor, Oluseyi Makinde’s to intervene in the alleged take-over of the settlement by estate agents and developers.

The association made the call during a peaceful protest at the Oyo State Agribusiness Development Agency (OYSADA), Agodi, Ibadan, after several attempts to reach the government without a response. 

The protesters bore placards, which read, ‘Save Akufo Farm Settlement, ‘Housing cannot Feed the Nation’s, ‘ Say No to Housing Estate, Yes to Agriculture’, among others.

In his remarks the President of the Association, Mr. Adesola Oludare, explained how it had written a letter to OYSADA, which is their supervising agency for a meeting, but their letters were met with silence,

 He said the farmers had met with some people who claimed that the settlement would be used for  a housing estate, adding that the government should not have handed the land to developers, especially during this period of food insecurity.

According to him,” there are several other lands that could have been used for development. There are housing estates that are only bearing names with nothing been done on them.

“We expect that the government should make food available. Unfortunately, what we heard is that about 40 hectares have been earmarked for housing estate.”  

The immediate past President of the Association, Mr. Johnson Alapelode stated that part of the agenda of the President Bola Tinubu’s administration is food production, but it is ironic to snatch their lands from the farmers to build houses. 

 “Maize, soya and wheat are expensive, but  the government is not even planning on how to give us the necessary farming input such as tractors,” he stated, adding that government need to dialogue with the farmers.

In their remarks, the Chairman, Cattle Farmers Association of the settlement, Mr. Fabayo Rasaki, lamented that they were suddenly stopped from paying rents for the land without prior notice and official communication; while another farmer, Mrs Sehinde recalled that it was Chief Obafemi Awolowo who initiated the site as a farm settlement.

“We have not received any help from the government we voted for. We have seen other housing estates that are only inhabited by goats. This is not the time to build houses on farm settlements. The government should help us and not make us suffer.”

A land owner in the settlement, Mrs. Oluwafunmilayo  Oyelami, told journalists that “I own 25 acres out of the affected lands where we have palm trees for producing palm oil. We were surprised to hear people saying that the lands have been seized for housing estates. People have been weeping since the land seizure. What we want is the government to release the farm for us and help our farming business.”

Asked the economic importance of the farm settlement to Oyo State, one of the farmers, Prof. Ola Davies explained that the farm settlement produces over 20,000 crates of eggs daily, palm oil, different birds such as layers and broilers for livestock production. 

 “if there is anything acceptable now in the country, it is food security. So many people are hungry now. Akufo farm settlement has been a major contributor to agriculture. To turn that kind of place to a housing estate as we are hearing is unacceptable. What happens to the food production from that place? What happens to the people working there? If food security will work, that farm has to continue, as a matter of fact, the government has to come in to encourage the settlers so that there will be increase in productivity.”

When contacted, the Special Adviser to the Governor of Oyo State on Agribusiness, Mr. Olasunkanmi Adebowale Akande stated that OYSADA does not get involve in housing estates, neither has it  announce turning the farm settlement into housing estates.

He said, “I think focus should rather be on why houses are being built illegally currently on the land and the volume of agricultural activities going on there.”

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