The National Agricultural Land Development Authority has received land donations for wheat farming in Ribadu village in Fufore Local Government area of Adamawa state, North-East Nigeria to boost wheat production in Nigeria and enhance the country’s economic and agricultural growth.
NALDA is expected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the community to perfect the modalities of the farm.
The land is expected to engage 1,000 youths from the community, on a two youth per hectare sharing ratio in wheat farming.
Wheat was strategically selected for its viability in the community and also to encourage more people to go into wheat farming to meet up with local demands.
While receiving the land at the Palace of His Royal Highness Dr. Abubakar Aliyu Ribadu (Gidado), in Ribadu, the Executive Secretary of NALDA, Prince Paul Ikonne said President Muhammadu Buhari is interested in empowering the farmers and raising more millionaires through agriculture.
“What we do is to empower the farmers; the president is interested in raising more Millionaires from farming and the agricultural sector and also attracts more people to go into agribusiness.”
“When we take possession of this land we would also allocate it to the indigenes, people from your community that you would nominate, our job is to put them through how to go through dry season farming, provide all the inputs and all the support that they need”
On value addition, Ikonne said NALDA would buy back the produce from the farmers to boost their earning and ensure availability of market.
“Most times farmers sell at very low prices because they just want to sell off and get some money but NALDA buying it back from them means they would sell at the right price in order to get value and NALDA would also recoup the investment they’ve made,” he said.
He added that NALDA would work with all the stakeholders in Fufore to get the farmers on board the programme.
Responding, His Royal Highness Dr. Ribadu said the process of engaging the farmers should be properly done so that only genuine farmers would benefit from the project noting that if shabbily done NALDA’s image would be dented in the eyes of the people.
The Emir appreciated the Executive Secretary’s efforts and assured him of his support on the project while noting that the list of the beneficiaries would be made available to NALDA before the end of October.
Bulldozers are expected to move in and commence land clearing activities by the first week of November and land allocation to selected qualified farmers would also commence simultaneously.
Earlier, the Executive Secretary and his team were shown round a land that has been donated to the Authority in Sabon Gari, Yolde Pate, in Yola South Local Government.
According to the NALDA boss, the land is specifically for Cow fattening, to boost milk and meat production in the state and the country at large.
The Executive Secretary and his team inspected ongoing harvest activities on its rice farm in Suju village, in Ganye local government area of state, as part of its efforts to boost rice production and enhance food security in the country.
On a visit to the farm, about 20 youths of the community that have been engaged by NALDA on a daily pay plan were seen carrying out harvest activities on farm.
The farm had commenced with land preparations and input supplies earlier in the year.
The farm, which is part of NALDA’s wet season farming programme, is expected to yield at least 1,000 tons of rice at the end of the harvest season.
After the wet season harvest is done, there are already plans on ground to commence dry season wheat farming.
Five boreholes have been drilled with a generator to power them, and the farm sits by a stream, a natural water source for irrigation support.
While urging other states yet to key into NALDA’s project to donate and come on board and benefit from it, the NALDA boss said the agency is not interested in taking over lands from the people but only concerned about youth empowerment and food security.
He said insinuating that lands being donated by communities are being converted for Ruga is misleading.
According to Ikonne, what should really interest Nigerians and Nigeria as a country is availability of food and achieving food security,
“The issue of taking land from people and using it for Ruga is totally misleading, and is not what we should dwell on now; what we should focus on is how do we achieve food security because everybody needs food to survive, whether opposition or no opposition, religion or no religion, tribe or no tribe, everybody needs foods,” he said.
“And this is the reason why NALDA is advocating and reaching out to communities and villages to make their land available for development in order for Nigeria to achieve food security.”