Benefiting youth and women of Papa community in Nafada Local Government Area of Gombe state North-East Nigeria could not hold back excitement as the National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) commenced harvest from its first dry season wheat farm in the community.
The farm sits on 100 hectares of land that was cultivated in December 2021 by 100 women and youth drawn from the community at a ratio of 1 hectare per person.
The beneficiaries were provided with 2 brand new tractors, agrochemicals, fertilisers, irrigation pumps, improved hand tools, land clearing and technical guidance by NALDA.
On a visit to the farm, the Youth and women were seen harvesting, threshing and bagging the produce.
NALDA’s Executive Secretary, Prince Paul Ikonne who was represented by the Director of Engineering, Olusegun Owolabi while addressing the farmers said the harvest is proof that Nigeria can produce what she eats and eat what she produces, which is worthy of celebration.
“This gathering is the celebration of the outcome of a partnership between NALDA and Gombe State Government late last year, as the authority observed that Wheat, an agricultural product is the third item in the national importation list and resolved to kick start rewriting the history which leads to NALDA collaboration with some states including Gombe to produce wheat”.Ikonne said.
On market availability, Ikonne said NALDA would get prospective buyers (processing companies) to off-take from the farmers.
Commissioner of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry in Gombe State, Alhaji Muhammed Magaji Gettado said before the establishment of the farm, the youth of the community at this particular period of the year migrate to neighbouring Taraba State and other towns to make earns meet but now they are ground walking on NALDA’s dry season wheat farm.
The commissioner called on NALDA to take it a step further by providing harvest machines such as threshers to enable farmers package clean produce, noting that the Ministry of Agriculture would provide threshers on the farm for proper threshing of the wheat.
Rukayatu Usman a female beneficiary of the project who could not hide her excitement, appreciated NALDA for providing them with all the needed farm input, describing the programme as a blessing.
She added that over a thousand women in the community have shown interest after seeing the bountiful harvest of the first phase.
Another beneficiary Mohammed Lamuwa said the farm is not only beneficial to the Nafada people alone but to the entire Gombe State.
He said with the success of the first phase of the dry season wheat farm, the beneficiaries were hopeful of better productivity in the wet season and the subsequent seasons which would in turn end poverty in the community.
NALDA commenced dry season wheat farming in some states across the country in late 2021 to boost wheat production and reduce importation.
Project site inspection
From Nafada, the NALDA team moved to Kordon, Yamaltu/Deba Local Government Area of the state to inspect ongoing construction work on its Modern Tomato market.
So far the market has 18 buildings consisting of 16 blocks of 64 shops and 2 blocks of stores already finished, a reservoir, borehole, office block, toilet facilities and fencing are all underway in the market which will serve as a one-stop point for all kinds of perishables for farmers and consumers from all over the state.
Speaking to the beneficiaries expected to occupy the market, the Executive Secretary of NALDA who was represented by the NALDA Director of Engineering, Olusegun Owolabi said that the level of vegetable business going on in the area deserves a better operating environment.
“This gesture was conceived and implemented to complete Horticultural crops Value Chains activities in the state as the volume of business taking place deserved an improved business environment to encourage domestic and international transactions. This is to be used to neutralise the poverty being weaponised against the people- farmers and traders.”Mr Owolabi said.
State Commissioner of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, Alhaji Muhammed Gettado said the state government is committed to doing its own part to ensure that the project is successful, as he assured NALDA that the facility would be utilised for the benefit of the people.
In Katsina State northwest Nigeria, the NALDA team led by Executive Secretary Prince Paul Ikonne inspected some of its ongoing projects in the state.
The projects include a cattle market, a vegetable market, and grain storage warehouses, all in the Maiadua Local Government Area.
The cattle and vegetable market in Maiadua would serve both Nigerians and Nigeriens who trade on a daily basis in the area as the town borders Nigeria and Niger. The cattle Market boast of open shops already finished, a borehole and an office building.
The vegetable market has partitioned shops that would be allocated to traders. These new structures would not only give the market a face-lift but would protect traders from harsh weather conditions as their existing shop does not have roof covers.
The grain storage facility which would boost grain production in the area as farmers would have access to a well-equipped storage facility for their grains until they are ready to sell.
Distribution of pumping machines
The team stopped over at NALDA’s Integrated Farm Estate in Suduje, Daura local government area of the state, where the Executive Secretary distributed pumping machines to over 100 farmers to boost irrigation farming in the area.
The Executive Secretary warned the beneficiaries against selling the machines.
“I demarcated some part of my farmland for irrigation purposes, this machine would contribute a lot to the improvement of my irrigation farming where I farm vegetables and fruits like Guava and I thank the federal government for this support”.One of the beneficiaries a retired Technical College Teacher turn farmer, Abashe Ali Daura who engages in both wet and dry season farming said
Another beneficiary, Murja Ahmed, a vegetable farmer said she was overwhelmed by the gesture as it would go a long way in boosting her income thereby supporting her in seeing her children through school.
NALDA is distributing 500 pumping machines across Katsina.
Similar projects would soon be commissioned across various states.
Reporting by Zaccheaus Babalola; editing by Muzha Kucha