Gbolagade Ayoola descended from the royal family of the Owus at Orile-Owu in Osun State, Nigeria with deep ancestral roots in Ibadan in Oyo State.
Ayoola is a Professor of Agricultural Economics and Policy of the University of Agriculture Makurdi, Benue State, where he served as Head of Department of Agricultural Economics and Director of Centre for Food and Agricultural Strategy of the University prior to his voluntary retirement from the institution in May, 2009. He is a joint product of University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) and University of Ibadan, from where he obtained his bachelor’s and postgraduate degrees respectively. Ayoola is a policy economist of world renown and a public spirited agricultural policy analyst with primary expertise in farm inputs policies, commodity programming and rural infrastructure. At Ibadan, he formulated the “Calculus of Variations” model of optimal control for commodity programming and agriculture planning.
At the mid-career stage he was a joint Visiting Scholar to the Economist Department, and Centre for Agriculture and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University, Ames Iowa, USA where he sponsored the "Deathly Embrace Theory" of the dual economy (Agriculture - Industry) structure, for calculated policy intervention in a developing country context. Professor Ayoola returned from the USA in 1996 to establish the Farm & Infrastructure Foundation ( FIF)
An organization for promoting policy best practices in agriculture and rural development, through rights-induced policy advocacy, evidence-based policy research and knowledge-driven policy brokerage.
He is a policy advisor to the federal and state governments in various capacities in Nigeria and the world at large; as a member of National Fertilizer Technical
Committee; member Trade and Commerce Working Group on Nigeria Vision 20:2020; member Consultative Committee of Common Fund for Commodities of the United Nations; Chairman Study Group on Agricultural Commodities Development and Marketing Companies; and member of Policy Working Group of the agriculture minister; to mention a few.
He has served as National Vice President of the Nigerian Association of Agricultural Economists (NAAE) and National Secretary of the Agricultural Society of Nigeria (ASN) for two terms in each case in the past; and presently is the West Africa Representative on the Executive Committee of the African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE).
As the Founder and President FIF, Professor Ayoola launched a NATIONAL CAMPAIGN ON RIGHT TO FOOD in 2008 with the aim to introduce a mind and policy change in the country, from the notion of food as a mere human need to that of food as a fundamental human right. Towards this end he currently serves as the Chairman of the Voices for Food Security, a consortium of civil society organizations and non-state actors operating in the agricultural policy space. In this regard Ayoola is instrumental to introducing two legislative Bills on Right to Food presently before the National Assembly, and has testified before the Committees of the National Assembly on agriculture and human rights a number of times.
He is widely published at home and abroad with over 150 items of books, chapters in books, learned journals, conference proceedings etc, and himself the Publisher of the Nigeria Agriculture Digest, a specialized magazine for getting the policy environment right for agriculture and rural development. Professor Ayoola is happily married with four children.