The National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) says it will reactivate its abandoned farm estates across the country to engage youths at the grassroots.
Prince Paul Ikonne, the Executive Secretary of NALDA, made this known in a statement on Friday in Abuja.
He also said that the move was in compliance with the directives of President Muhammadu Buhari to reactivate all NALDA’s farm estates located in different parts of the country.
The NALDA boss said he had met with the Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State on the plan to reactivate abandoned farm estate in the state.
“This is in line with the Federal Government’s efforts towards attaining food security, youth empowerment and poverty eradication.
Ikonne said that funds have been made available for this purpose as the government was determined to provide all infrastructure needed to make the farm estates an agricultural hub.
“We will start immediately to reactivate road infrastructure at the farm site in Ekiti, which is about 4.5 kilometres and then clear the remaining lands in the areas.
“We will do it in phases and I’m sure that we are going to farm there this wet season as NALDA will provide tractors for the land clearing,’’ he said.
Ikonne commended the Ekiti state government for providing an enabling environment, saying NALDA could only function in a state that creates a working environment.
He noted that with the flag-off of the Young Farmers Scheme in November 2020 by President Buhari, the integrated farm estates across the country would ensure the scheme would be successful and “in so doing, food security will also be achieved’’.
Gov. Fayemi was also quoted as remarking that agriculture in the state was not on a part-time basis, but a way of life for the people.
“Anything that needs to be done to accelerate development in the sector is a welcome development.
“Currently, we have about three rice mills that are coming up in Ekiti.
“All of these will not really bring to bear the quality and capacity of our people if we don’t have enough farmers growing.
“Somebody has to feed the mills, either cassava or rice, we must produce in order for the mills to be active and whatever you can do to assist us just as you have promised, we will certainly be full of gratitude,’’ the governor said.
According to him, President Buhari loves agriculture, and at every opportunity, he would tell us that we must grow what we eat and eat what we grow.
“That is also our passion in this state,’’ Fayemi added.
He said the state would leverage on what they are best known for, which is education and farming, adding that the state government would develop these into wealth-creating opportunities for its people.
Fayemi added that, with NALDA on board, more youths in the state would get empowered through agriculture. (NAN).