Executive Secretary of NALDA, Prince Paul Ikonne visits a land donated by a community in Fufore Local Government Area of Adamawa state. Photo: Zaccheaus Babalola
The National Agricultural Land Development Authority, NALDA 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 1000 youth from the community, on a 2 youth per hectares 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 the local demands.
While receiving the land at the Palace of His Royal Highness, Dr. Abubakar Aliyu Ribadu (Gidado), in Ribadu, Prince 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 the availability of the 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 added that NALDA would work with all the stakeholders in Fufore to get the farmers on board the program.
Responding, His Royal Highness, Dr. Abubakar Aliyu Ribadu (Gidado) 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 of 2021 and land allocation to selected qualified farmers would also commence simultaneously.
Earlier, the Executive Secretary and his team were shown around the 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.
Rice harvest in Ganye
On a visit to the farm, about twenty youth of the community that have been engaged by NALDA on a daily pay plan were seen carrying out harvest activities on the farm.
The farm had commenced with land preparations and inputs supplies earlier in the year.
The farm which is part of NALDA’s wet season farming program is expected to yield at least 1000 tons of rice at the end of the harvest.
After the wet season harvest is done, there are already plans on the ground to commence dry season wheat farming.
five Boreholes have been drilled with a generator to power them, the farm already boasts of a stream which is a natural water source that would be utilized to support irrigation activities on the farm.
With the wheat and rice farm, Training Fish farmers on best practices by providing them with stainless steel ovens, and other upcoming projects like the mega groundnut storage facility to be established in Hong Local Government and the Cow fattening facility to be established in Yolde Pate in Yola South, NALDA has covered the 3 Senatorial Districts in the state.
Donated land not converted for Ruga
While urging other states yet to key into NALDA’s project to donates and come on board and benefit from it, the NALDA boss said NALDA is not interested in taking over lands from the people but only concerned about youth empowerment and food security.
He said comparing NALDA’s farm estates to Ruga, insinuating that it is Ruga, or saying the lands being donated by communities are being converted for Ruga is misleading.
According to Ikonne, what should interest Nigerians and Nigeria as a country is the 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 oppositions or no opposition, religion or no religion, tribe or no tribe everybody needs foods”
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, he added
Reporting by Zaccheaus Babalola; editing by Abdullahi Lamino