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FG to partner states in wooing 77,400 people into agriculture

The National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) says it has made plans to help 77,400 people set up farms.

According to the agency, the farmers would be drawn from across the 774 local governments areas of the country.

NALDA was created by Ibrahim Babangida, a former military ruler, in 1992 through decree No.92 but in 2000 it was abolished by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

President Muhammadu Buhari resuscitated the agency in May.

Paul Ikonne (pictured), NALDA’s executive secretary, said the agency hopes to partner with governors who would provide lands for the farms.

“We intend to have 77,400 young farmers injected into Nigerian farming businesses across the nation in different farming activities ranging from crop farming to animal husbandry,” Ikonne said on Monday.

“These young farmers will be drawn from the 774 local governments, with a pilot number of 100 per local government. In this initiative we will partner with governors for provision or donation of land and other stakeholders as this will create employment and food production will be increased.

“We will use this program to encourage everyone to go back to the farm by reaching out to the military and paramilitary organizations, national assembly members, civil and public servants, journalists, corporate bodies, religious organizations and individuals.

“You will agree with me that all these organisations mentioned and some individuals have land that is not being put to use, so we intend to encourage them to use these lands for farming even if it is for personal consumption.

“Nigeria’s potential in the agricultural sector cannot be overemphasized and having identified the lapses of why we as a nation have not attained the height of food sufficiency, NALDA under my watch will provide the required leadership and with the support of Mr President we will achieve our mandate.”

Ikonne said the agency intends to achieve the programmes within six months and the programmes would be the “starting point” for the agency to meet the mandate of the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration of producing food for all Nigerians.

The executive secretary said the agency’s mandate is to “make agriculture a source of wealth creation for the country” by encouraging the production of soybean and palm oil for export.

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka
Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

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