NALDA inaugurates 120 housing units to boost food production in Borno
The National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) says it has unveiled 120 housing units and an empowerment centre for farmers in Borno in order to increase food production.
The Executive Secretary of NALDA, Paul Ikonne, in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja, said it was part of efforts to boost food security.
Ikonne, who unveiled the facility alongside Gov. Babagana Zulum of Borno in Maiduguri, said that the initiative was to encourage young Nigerians to venture into agriculture.
“This is part of its efforts to reduce poverty create wealth among smallholder farmers and boost food production and give farmers good accommodation.’’
The facility located in Dustman community, Zawiya Village, Borno, has a clinic, a school for children of farmers, a worship centre, solar-powered boreholes and access roads.
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“The facility which is segmented has fish ponds, poultry houses, goat pens in its production area, raffia and an already finished empowerment centre where women and youths would undergo training.”
According to him, the beneficiaries of the project are drawn from the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in the state.
“The other centre is the agriculture empowerment centre where youth and women would be trained within three to four months.
“Thereafter, they will be given startup packs to enable them to do agricultural business on their own; all this is geared towards reducing unemployment and achieving food security.”
Ikonne said that NALDA was already in touch with existing farmers to support them with inputs and train budding agriculturists.
The executive secretary said that each state would benefit from the scheme while calling on state governments to utilise the scheme as a means to create jobs for the teeming population.
“Currently, we have partnerships with some individual farmers that have provided their farmlands and space for us to activate the empowerment centres.
“Like in Osun, we have a farmer whose farm is in good shape and up and running. All NALDA needs to do is to upgrade it to the level of being an empowerment centre.
“We also have a farm in Nasarawa State; a private farmer also made available his farmland which is 80 to 90 per cent ready for commissioning.’’
Ikonnne disclosed that the centres would have fishery poultry, animal husbandry and raffia grass fields all aimed at job creation.
“The importance of these agriculture empowerment centres is to create job opportunities and also encourage young Nigerians to go into agriculture.
“We will be more delighted to have it done with corporate or individuals so that it will be anchored around them and the farm will be managed by them while we empower the youth from the proceeds that come from there.”
He said that the farmers would be recruited in trenches.
“We are looking at 250,000 young Nigerians across the country; to empower them in different fields in the first phase.
“It is going to be a continuous phase,” he said.
On his part, Zulum commended Ikonne for choosing Borno to execute such projects, noting that it would contribute to the economic development of the state.
“Let me use this opportunity to commend the hardworking executive secretary of NALDA for all his initiatives that are geared towards creating employment and means of livelihood for the people,” Zulum said.
The governor said he was ready to provide lands for investors who were interested in agriculture.
He said the initiative would assist mostly returning IDPs who had been battered by bandits and terrorists over the years.