By Bukola Adewumi
President Muhammadu Buhari, has directed the Executive Secretary of the National Agricultural Lands Development Authority (NALDA) to immediately procure additional five spraying aircraft to boost food security.
Buhari, represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, gave the directive when the agency showcased its achievements in Abuja on Thursday.
“In addition to the one spraying aircraft, I am directing the Executive Secretary of NALDA to procure additional five aircraft in order to have each geopolitical zone covered,” the president said.
He said the Federal Government had procured various equipment for agricultural mechanisation, such as tractors, combined harvesters, pumping machines, surveillance and spraying drones among others.
He said the Federal Government would keep procuring land preparation equipment until it had enough.
The President further charged NALDA to strive hard in other to achieve food security, while also creating jobs in the sector.
He said he was aware of the importance of NALDA, noting that the agency was saddled with these responsibilities as additional means of earning foreign revenue besides oil.
“Again, I charge the Executive Secretary of NALDA and his team to pursue this mandate vigorously without any discrimination, fear or favour, being an agency under the Presidency,” Buhari said.
On training, the president said in terms of human capital, several professionals in different fields of agriculture had been trained and equipped to offer services in the needed areas.
He said many Nigerians also, mostly youths and women, had been trained and empowered in the fields of mechanised agriculture, poultry farming, fisheries among others.
“Within these two years of my bringing NALDA back, I am pleased that NALDA under my watch is achieving results that are directly and positively affecting the people, especially from the rural areas.
“In line with my vision of seeing Nigeria lead in agricultural development, I believe that after having resuscitated NALDA, my successors will build on its legacies, so that this country can achieve food sufficiency in no distant time,” he said.
Speaking at the event, the Executive Secretary, Mr Paul Ikonne, commended the President for resuscitating NALDA, which was moribund, for the purpose of encouraging young Nigerians to embrace agriculture.
Ikonne said: “When we came on board, this administration did not inherit anything in terms of equipment or infrastructure from the old NALDA.
“But as we speak, NALDA has offices in almost all the 36 states, including the FCT, and has acquired tractors, farm implements.”
He said the agency now also had farms across the six geo-political zones, adding that NALDA had empowered more than 50,000 young Nigerians, excluding women. (NAN)