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NALDA trains 200 FCT youths, women on vegetable planting

The National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) has trained 200 youths and women on its ‘Grow Your Vegetable’ programme.

The Executive Secretary of NALDA, Paul Ikonne, said the essence of the programme was to teach the participants how to maximise the little spaces they have in their environment to plant vegetables.

“The essence of this programme is to inform us of what we used to know; and that is, while growing up; our parents used to use every available space at the back of the house or in front of the house to plant vegetables,” Mr Ikonne said.

“Urbanisation is trying to take that away, thereby making life in the urban city more expensive than the ones in the rural areas,” he stressed.

The executive secretary told participants that NALDA was trying to encourage them to grow their vegetables in order to reduce their cost of living.

He told them that President Muhammadu Buhari has mandated NALDA to encourage all Nigerians to grow what they eat.

“Whether you are a landlord or tenant, you can grow the food within your environment using used bags or broken buckets,”Mr Ikonne said.

He urged the participants and residents of Abuja to convert their flower pots into vegetable pots, saying a vegetable seed would take between two and three months to mature.

According to him, the programme is aimed at encouraging Nigerians, especially those living within urban areas, to grow their vegetables.

The NALDA boss estimated that beneficiaries of the programme within the FCT are about 200; adding: “We have provided them with hybrid seeds like pepper, tomato, onion and pumpkin (ugwu), also fertilizer to encourage them to start growing their own food.”

He said those that were not able to be trained should take advantage of available information to begin growing their own vegetables at home.

After the programme has held in Abuja, the next stops will be in Lagos and Port Harcourt , Mr Ikonne hinted.

The Minister of FCT, Muhammed Bello was represented by the Managing Director, Abuja Enterprise, Shehu Abdulkadir at the occasion.

Mr Bello said the programme would bring succour to families and boost the implementation of the government’s Back to Farm Initiative.

“Agriculture used to be the mainstay of the economy and in these challenging economic times, this initiative by NALDA will go a long way in providing financial succour to families,” he said.

“[It] is not just for a healthy and more nutritious diet, but also the renaissance of agriculture as the mainstay of our economy,” the Minister noted.

Reporting by Zaccheus Babalola; editing by Abdullahi Lamino