FUNAAB ALUMNUS DONATES TO ALMA METER
By Walter Adeyemi
An alumnus of Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Mr. Ayopo Somefun has donated a citrus farm plantation seated on four acres of land with a total of 1,600 seedlings of different varieties of citrus fruits to FUNAAB. The former student, who graduated in 1997 from the Department of Agricultural Economics and Farm Management (AEFM), College of Agricultural Management, Rural Development and Consumer Studies (COLAMRUCS), stated that the main purpose for the gesture was to aid learning, as FUNAAB is supposed to be a place for both learning and breeding of seeds.
Mr. Somefun, who is doing well in the agriculture business, stated that about N2 million was spent on 10 varieties of citrus seeds, which is expected to generate more than N50 million profit for FUNAAB as Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). Speaking on his company, Sogold Farms, he disclosed that the company is a commercial farm and consultancy outfit that ventures into the production of cows, poultry, piggery and the cultivation of various cash crops. He added that his company mentors young ones, noting that in the last four years, he had been able to mentor about 256 graduates of FUNAAB, who are now working on their own as independent farmers.
Mr. Somefun, who is also the Chairman, National Association of Sorghum Producers, Processors and Marketers of Nigeria (NASPPAM), challenged the alumni to invest in FUNAAB. He revealed that he had a bigger plan of establishing an Avocado Pear Project for the University, to mark his 50th birthday next year. The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Kolawole Salako, while touring the citrus plantation with officials of the University, appreciated Mr. Somefun for the donation. He described him as a trailblazer, whose interest to endow FUNAAB with the citrus plantation had encouraged other donors to give generously to the University.
According to Prof. Salako, “Our Alumni are key players in our development and we cannot afford to lose them”, noting that FUNAAB was more concerned about its alumni, which made the University to charge the Examination and Records Unit in the Registry to always be ready to help graduating students process their transcripts with ease. Prof. Salako promised Mr. Somefun that the University would manage the plantation very well, as he charged the Directorate of University Farms (DUFARMS) to handle the plantation such that the purpose of establishing the farm would not be defeated.
Appreciating the donor, the President, FUNAAB Students Union (FUNAABSU), Comrade Michael Oloyede, said that the action of Mr. Somefun had challenged the students to do more when they graduate from the University. According to him, students are the major beneficiaries of the donation, noting that Mr. Somefun had imprinted his name in the hearts of FUNAAB students. The Director of DUFARMS, Mr. Joseph Olobasola and some ex-FUNAAB students, who were mentored by Mr. Somefun, gave testimonies on the need for young graduates to embrace agriculture.