WHAT HAPPENED TO THE DAYS OF FARM SETTLEMENTS IN NIGERIA?

A few months ago, I went on a trip to visit a new farm land with some relatives in Igbogila, Ogun State Nigeria. In the mist of our activities for the day we had to visit the Igbogila Village itself in search of the Agric Officer. It was during the search that I was able to visit the SAWONJO FARM SETTLEMENT. The settlement was set up back in the days of Chief  Obafemi Awolowo. I was amazed at the infrastructures put in place there but unfortunately not been used. First let me tell you about the farm settlement before I go into the problems I observed.

The farm settlement is said to cover over 25 hectares. It is divided into sections for interested farmers. Each farmer gets a total of 5 acres on which he has a 2 bedroom farm house attached to it. In a nut shell, you have a beautiful (though  very dilapidated due to lack of use) to live in while you do your farming at afee of  one thousand naira($6.70) per year. That not all, for the use of the settlement is an Agric Farm Service Corporation where the farmers could purchase seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides . Machines such as tractors, plough, slashes etc were also available to be used on the farm at a subsidized fee. Aside these, a primary and secondary school was available there to serve both the villagers and  families in the farm settlement if any.

Sadly, the farm settlement is now hardly in use. The former occupants are either gone or old and just live there without doing any serious faming leaving the farmland to turn into bushes. The Farm Service Corporation runs at very low capacity with outdated and tired agriculture extension workers whom are employees of the Ministry of Agric and whom couldn’t even answer question  relating to agriculture convincingly. On the other hand, the machines and equipments are parked because there is no one to use them.

            While I was thrilled by the idea behind the farm settlement, I felt weighed down for our generation. During the course of the visit, an elderly man lamented about the youths in the village not making use of the farm settlement. He said all they wanted to do was go into the transport business using motorcycle(okada) instead of engaging in agriculture despite the attractive incentive and opportunity they have in terms of the farm settlement.

I couldn’t but ask myself, why is the farm settlement not in use as it should? What can the government do to revive it? Does it exist in other states or Local Government Areas? Why are the youth not seeing the wonderful and rewarding advantage before them?

In the meantime, I await a future when young people would embrace agriculture and make life better for themselves and the nation as a whole.

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12 comments

  1. Thank you for this write up Olawale.My heart bleeds for our nation when I remember the farm settlements too.They are all over there in the south west. My father used to tell us about the one in Ilora,Oyo state where he used to work as a secondary school student on holiday as labourer.Every convenience was there then and to me , farming was relatively easier, cheaper and more secured.All this job creation shout of government,if these settlements can be opened up and taken back to those days,let there be infrastructure such as electricity,youths will gladly live in serene environment (where you can use your mobile devoces to access internet) and do productive agriculture.I still remain on it that agriculture is a major saviour of youth unemployment.

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    1. Mr Olawale, I need details on how I can get started as a commercial farmer.can I have ur phone no for better talk. Thamks

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  2. Thank you Olawale for this write up. I am very interested in this farm settlement matter but i don’t know how to go about it, Is it possible for you to put me through the process on how to get the farm settlement?

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  3. Thank you Olawale for this write up. I am very interested in this farm settlement matter but i don’t know how to go about it, Is it possible for you to put me through the process on how to get the farm settlement?

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  4. Good work mr olawale…..
    Please, can you give us more detail of other farm settlement in western region in Nigeria.

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  5. Mr Olawale I visited Sawonjo in 1984 when I finished my school cert at Afrograms Abeokuta. The then Gov of the state Col Diya employed school leavers to harvest maize there. I lived & worked there for 2 weeks it was a very nice experience. I will visit there again & hope that the place can be revived & more such developments built for serious farmers

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  6. Thank you Mr Olawale for your write up. Please i will like to know the detail history with the objectives for the establishment of farm settlement in Lagos State.

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  7. good work mr olawale………….. please can u give more details about farm settlement in northern Nigeria. thanks.

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