JIgawa State Governor, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar (center) with the NALDA Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer, Prince Paul Ikonne (right) at the flag-off dry season wheat farming in Jigawa state. Photo: Zaccheaus Babalola
In line with ongoing efforts to bridge the national deficit in wheat production in the country and reduce importation, the National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) has commenced dry season wheat farming in the country in Jigawa state northwest Nigeria.
The wheat farm would sit on 100 hectares of land in Marke town in Kaugama Local Government Area donated by the state and is expected to engage 300 hundred youths from the area.
On a visit to the farm, Tractors were seen carrying out land clearing, tilling, and ploughing on the land to get it ready on time in order for farmers not to miss the planting window.
Inputs such as seeds, pumping machines, generators, fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides have also been delivered to the selected farmers by NALDA.
While the state government provides the land, NALDA would provide input support, Training for the farmers, supervise and support them all through the farming period, and then off-take from the farm thereby ensuring availability of market for the harvest.
At the flag-off ceremony held on the farm in Kaugama, the Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of NALDA, Prince Paul Ikonne while addressing the farmers said the choice of Jigawa state for the Official flag off of the dry season wheat farming is largely due to the soil texture of the state which is suitable for wheat production and the governor’s track records in agriculture.
While commending the state government on the land donation Ikonne asked that the state government make available more lands for wheat production as NALDA was ready to help turn the state into a wheat production hub in the country.
“I’m glad to inform us that the state government has provided us with land, but we would still ask Your Excellency to provide us with more lands as NALDA intends to make Jigawa the Hallmark of Wheat production in Nigeria”
“these one hundred hectares’ donated or provided by the state government would take 300 hundred farmers which NALDA would be providing them with the seeds, pumping machines, pesticides and herbicides and the end of the day NALDA would do the off taking from them so that farmers would have value, so it is purely an out-growers project that NALDA has brought to Jigawa state” he further explained
Prince Ikonne who stated his commitment to working with the state on the project said when more lands are made available; the number of youths to be engaged would also expand.
He added that NALDA is following President Muhammadu Buhari’s mandate to make agriculture attractive to youths in the country and encourage them to see agriculture as a way of life and a means of earning money.
Jigawa state ranks amongst the top in wheat productions
While responding, the Jigawa State Governor, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar said it has been established that Jigawa state ranks amongst the top in wheat production in the country and said with NALDA’s intervention the state would become the biggest wheat producer in the country.
The governor stated that the effort of the state in agriculture is being complemented by the support from President Muhammadu Buhari-led’s administration through the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor Borrowers Programme and NALDA’s intervention.
Governor Abubakar noted that the state is ready to render all the needed assistance NALDA would need to execute the project.
“We reiterate our commitment from the governor down to the extension worker that you would need in the field, we are committed to this development, we committed to agriculture and we are committed to obeying President Muhammadu Buhari who asked us to produce what we eat and eat what we produce”
He appreciated NALDA for training 270 youths in the state to be soil doctors, noting that the gesture would go a long way in boosting best agricultural practices in the state.
“I want to also thank you most sincerely for training 270 young men of Jigawa state to be soil doctors and you just promised me that the kit that they would use is being ordered and would soon be delivered for distribution to them so that they would carry out soil analysis on our farms so we move to near precision farming and application of the right fertilizer for each land portion in the state”
Responding to the NALDA Boss’s request for more land donation, the governor said Jigawa state has over 400,000 hectares of land that is good for all year round farming and that the state is ready to donate more lands to NALDA especially as the purpose is for supporting Jigawa people.
He further called on NALDA to replicate the Farm Estate model in Jigawa.
Reporting by Zaccheaus Babalola; editing by Abdullahi Lamino