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Babalola Varsity Eyes $2.5m IFAD Fund To Stimulate Agriculture In Nigeria, Benin

Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD) is on the verge of grabbing $2.5 million grant from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to stimulate commercial agriculture in rural communities in Nigeria and Republic of Benin.
ABUAD founder, Aare Afe Babalola who spoke at the weekend while hosting an IFAD team led by its President, Dr. Kanayo Nwanze, explained that the project is targeted at development of in-house enterprise and infrastructure for training of millions of youths in the two countries.
ABUAD and the partners – Africa Rice Centre (AfricaRice), International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and ABUAD Farms – are proposing 36 months implementation period.
Babalola said the project would also lead to a 40 per cent increase in agribusiness enterprises and income generation for over 750,000 youths who are students and non-students in Nigeria and Benin Republic.
He disclosed that over 500,000 rural and urban agribusinesses will have access to trained youth in agribusiness and over 200,000 new mini agribusiness enterprises private sector will emerge using starter-pack funds that will be provided to trained youths.
He said ABUAD and the partners had developed a potent mechanism for empowering rural youth and directing them to careers in agribusiness, adding that participating youth,  had been conducting agribusiness incubations leading to profitable rural enterprises with good returns on investment.
IFAD President, Dr Nwanze, who said the potential of agriculture to develop the nation’s youth was high, spoke on the need to invest in the younger ones.
While saying the ABUAD proposal fits into IFAD framework, Nwanze said it would be included in the 2017 pipeline since that of 2016 had been completed, adding: “What ABUAD is doing is laudable”.

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