NALDA distributes Input to 600 Women and Youth Farmers in the Shendam Local Government Area of the Plateau state. Photo: Zaccheau Babalola
The National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) has flagged off its “Aggressive Food Production” project in 8 communities in Shendam Local Government Area of Plateau State North Central Nigeria to boost food security.
This project would be the first of its kind and the closest they have felt to the presence of Federal government Agriculture intervention in the communities.
The Projects include the cultivation of 200 hectares of maize farm for the 2022 wet season, 5 solar-powered boreholes for dry season irrigation farming and to serve as a source of water supply for the communities and distribution of inputs.
NALDA has already taken delivery of inputs such as seeds, herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers to about 600 beneficiary farmers through the traditional ruler and youth leaders.
Before the distribution of the inputs, land preparation activities had been carried out by the authority.
The total land donated by the communities for the project was 618 hectares but for the first phase, 200 hectares would be cultivated with a targeted yield of 1000 metric tons.
In addition to the input distribution, Goat pens and a veterinary clinic is being built by NALDA at a central location for the communities.
The clinic and pens which are near completion would serve the veterinary needs of herders and goat breeders in all eight communities.
Speaking on the project while on a visit to the farm, the Executive Secretary of NALDA Prince Paul Ikonne explained that the initiative is part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts to ensure that no matter the level of food crises that may arise from the effect of the Russia/Ukraine war, Nigeria would have enough food for her citizens.
According to him, NALDA is encouraging farmers with the support of the Central Bank of Nigeria to aggressively produce food by meeting them at their point of need in their localities.
“You can see the excitement on them, this being the first time they’re having Federal presence of any kind, this shows how committed Mr President is in reaching the unreached using Agriculture”
“It also shows how committed Mr. President is in achieving food security and engaging our youth”
“What NALDA is doing at this time is to encourage farmers and individuals to aggressively go into farming in order to achieve food security considering the situation the world would be going into as a result of the Russia/Ukraine war”
“So these steps we’re taking is to ensure that Nigeria those not experience any form of food shortage or go cap-in-hand looking for food”
Ikonne noted that after the wet season harvest there are plans for NALDA to cultivate Wheat in the state.
While addressing the beneficiaries from the 8 communities, the NALDA boss said the gesture is to ensure the communities enjoy less stressful ways of farming and engage the youths of the community productively thereby reducing crimes in the community and the society at large.
He assured them of NALDA’s continuous support all through the farming process through extension services to ensure maximum yields.
Prince Ikonne further assured the beneficiaries of Market availability as NALDA would be off taking from them during harvest.
The traditional ruler of the communities, Kanankur Sule Longvel while receiving the inputs on behalf of the communities commended NALDA for being the first to bring such an intervention to them.
While assuring the Executive Secretary that the inputs would be fully utilized, the traditional ruler appealed for the construction of access roads to the farms and tractors to be made available to enable them to engage in mechanised Agriculture.
A beneficiary, Helen Kafas who spoke in the Hausa language said women of the communities are excited and they came dancing and singing when the inputs arrived.
She said Agriculture in this modern-day without the use of inputs like fertiliser those not yield much.
“These days if one those not apply fertilisers on the farm, there’s not much yield, the herbicides would help us tackle weeds on our farms and the fertiliser and the seeds would go a long way to boost our yields”
Another Beneficiary, Comfort Ezra while also speaking in the Hausa language said the initiative would boost their yields, put food on their tables and also help cater to their children.
For 18 years old school dropout Tujan Tangdai, farming is the only thing he could fall back on after losing his benefactor and with no one to further help pay his fees.
He says he prays for good weather so that he can maximize the use of the inputs as he hopes to return to school when he makes enough profits from his farm.
Reporting by Zaccheaus Babalola; Editing by Abdullahi Lamino