The Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD) Farms comes alive as early as 6:30 a.m. when the fishes in its 68+ ponds are to be fed. A short while later, more workers arrive, and get to work in their various units on the 1000-hectare farm to fabricate or fix tools, harvest crops or package a variety of the farm’s products, which are in high demand within and outside the farms across Nigeria and beyond.
If you’ve got time to spare – indeed, you should find the time – then try getting in touch with the university’s PR official, Tunde Olofintila – and you should be on your way.
Meanwhile, tickle your senses.
The Fish Ponds: Best time to be here is when the fishes are being fed – and that is at about 7a.m. That is when they “show” themselves to the outside world. There are over 140 fish ponds at the Abuad farm.
Fish Smoking Room: Adjacent to the ponds is where fishes are smoked in three different ovens – electric, charcoal and gas. And packed and branded for sale.
The Moringa Factory: Eight products are made here from the acclaimed “miracle tree”, including bathing soap, body and hair creams, tea, capsule, powder and oil. “All our products are NAFDAC-approved,” said Section Head Omoniyi Ajiboye, a graduate of Federal Polytechnic Ado Ekiti who had worked on the Moringa Farm at the Katsina Polytechnic in 2001 while on National Youth Service, “Our customers have nothing but inspiring stories to share after using any of our products. Moringa is a wonder-plant indeed.”
The Piggery: There are six pens, holding on the average 300 pigs in various stages of development (piglets, weaners, breeders and growers) and about five exotic breeds ( Large White, Large Black, Pie Train, Land race and Durrock) altogether. In a half-hour tour, you can have a fair grasp of what it takes to raise a boar (mature male) or sow (mature female) for the market. “Our pigs are ready to be sold in six months from the time they are birthed,” says Babatunde Adeoye, the farm’s livestock supervisor, a graduate of Animal Production and Health, Federal University of Agriculture, Ado Ekiti, “That’s when they attain the minimum body weight of 60kg. A good percentage of our customers come all the way from the eastern part of the country.”
The Mushroom Section: You probably would have seen mushroom in the wild. ABUAD Farms simulates nature to cultivate the fungi/ fruit, from preparing the substrate through the pasteurization, inoculation to fruiting. The entire cycle lasts six weeks and it is a pleasure to see the mushroom being harvested. “There is a ready market for our mushrooms 24-7,” says Adesewa Thani, who heads the section. “The demand from within Ekiti State and in the south-west is much; and we are currently expanding so that we can increase our daily production.”
The Feeds’ mill: The Feeds’ mill employs 8-10 workers and produces all the feeds required by livestock being bred on ABUAD Farms—pigs, turkey, guinea-fowl—and the fishes. The mill is also equipped to produce more for sale to outside farms. Watching the staff operate the machines and the bagging is an education in itself and is worth the time spent in that noisy room. “We sell to farmers at cheaper rates, compared to what they will find at the market,” says one of the mill’s supervisors, Abiodun Isaac. “We want it to be easy for farmers to feed their livestock and make profit.”
The sawmill section/Wood Processing Factory: This will perhaps rank as one of the ambitious sections of ABUAD Farms. It processes timber, which are sliced and cut in different sizes and then sent into the carpentry and joinery shed next door. “We make all the furniture used in the university, including chairs and tables for the offices and lecture room and bed frames for the hostels,” says Dele Dada, supervisor, Carpentry and Joinery, explaining the functions of all the installed equipment. “Soon, we will expand the workshop to accommodate more jobs.”
The Plantain-chips section: The plantain chips produced on ABUAD Farms have a unique feel and taste. “We mix it with honey, garlic and ginger,” says the supervisor. “That is what makes ours different from what others are selling out there.” Your palate will thank you.
The Mango-chips section: ABUAD Farms grow seven varieties of mango – Mango Maya, Tommy, Kent, Keith, Alphonso, Ogbomoso Sweet and 13-1 and it’s in the early stages of producing dried, organic chips as snacks and for export. After they are harvested, the fruits are stored in a solar-powered silo, and later cut and oven-dried to make the chips. “Everything we do here, we try to meet international standards,” says the supervisor here, “And we have noticed that there is a larger market for chips than we have for the fruit itself, so we are concentrating on producing more of the former.”
The Tourist Village: After a tour of the farm, you should end your visit with a trip to the tourist village to chill. Order catfish pepper-soup and a drink (whatever your preferred temperature).
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Tourist Info: To book a tour to ABUAD Farms, contact @TravelNextDoor
Phone: +234 807 0999 670