One of the Solar-powered boreholes on the NALDA farms is set for commissioning. Photo: Zaccheaus Babalola
The National Agricultural Land Development Authority, NALDA’s Integrated Farm Estates in Ariam Elu Elu in Ikwuano Local Government Area of Abia state and Acharaugo Emekuku Integrated Farm Estate in Owerri North, Local Government Area of Imo State are ready for commissioning by the government.
The Ariam Elu Elu farm estate sits on 100 hectares of land donated by the community.
Given that land clearing poses problems in the southern parts of the country, NALDA carried out a clearing exercise on the land.
The farm, which currently boasts of fifty fish ponds with a capacity of 150, 000 fingerlings and 3,000 fishes, has been completed.
It also has 3 solar-powered industrial boreholes to cater to the water needs of the farm, a 2-kilometre road with drainages, solar-powered street light, office block and residence.
For the cropping areas of the farm, a high yielding, pest resistant 40,000 Dwarf Cavendish, Valerie and Big Lady Finger species of Banana trees has been planted on 25 hectares of the land.
Inspection tour of NALDA Executive Secretary
The Executive Secretary of NALDA Prince Paul Ikonne, while on an inspection tour of the farm, said the object of the project, just like other NALDA projects across the country, is to empower youths, inject life back into rural Nigeria and reduce urban migration.
According to him, the project is in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s mandate to NALDA to create jobs through agriculture, and encourage Nigerians to produce what they eat and eat what they produce.
Prince Ikonne expressed the confidence that the project would benefit about 400 women and youth of the community, with some of the women and youth already trained and prepared to eventually run the farm for their economic benefits.
He said the farm already has the capacity to generate huge revenue for for the people every year.
With a market already in place, Ariam community is strategically located as it borders Akwa Ibom and Abia states.
When commissioned in the weeks to come, beneficiaries from the community would take over the running of the farm, with NALDA remaining on the ground to guide and provide technical support when needed.
Acharaubo Emekuku Intergrated Farm
Also ready for commissioning, is the reactivated 35 hectares Acharaubo Emekuku Integrated Farm Estate in Owerri North Local Government Area of Imo State, which has been abandoned for over 30 years.
NALDA has resuscitated some of the existing facilities on the farm and also added some new facilities to boost productivity on the facility.
The farm currently has 6 poultry houses with 18 pens that contain about 10,000 birds, 3 goat houses with 196 goats, 3 piggeries containing 108 pigs, 3 solar-powered boreholes, access roads, drainage and solar-powered street lights.
During a visit to the farm, beneficiaries could be seen on the ground taking care of all the sections of the farm based on their areas of training.
Just like other NALDA farm estates, the target of the Acharaubo Farm Estate is to create job opportunities for the youth and women of the community.
It is on record that NALDA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Imo State government to take the abandoned integrated farm estate, reactivate it and engage the people of the community.
Reporting by Zaccheau Babalola; Editing by Abdullahi Lamino and Tony Okerafor