By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
As Federal Government prioritize food production, the National Agricultural Lands Development Authority, NALDA, and the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, Wednesday, partnered to develop 52 hectares of rice farm in Ebonyi State.
The partnership deal was sealed after NALDA and NYSC signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, to activate the 52 hectares land owned by the NYSC in Ezillo, Ishielu Local Government Area of the State for massive production of rice, which the Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer, NALDA, Prince Paul Ikonne, signed on behalf of his organization, while the Director General, NYSC, Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim, signed for the corps.
According to Ikonne, with the youthful manpower that NYSC has it was necessary for NALDA to tap into that resources to open up more hectares of farms across the country, while NALDA provides the expertise in agribusiness to galvanise the youthful strength of the corps for productive venture in agriculture that would make young graduates self-reliant, transformed into entrepreneurs, and also boost food security.
He also explained that the rice is one of the commodities that NALDA has prioritized along with other agricultural commodities the will be embarked on its, where he disclosed that Integrated Farm Estate would soon come on stream in partnership with the Corps, which will make Corps members go into food production and income generation.
He said: “NYSC has the foot soldiers and every year they churn them out while NALDA has the land and the technical know-how, this understanding is for the man power and the technical know-how to come together in order to produce the much needed job opportunity and food security that Mr. President has been advocating for, for the country.
“Nigeria is in dare need of creating job opportunities and this collaboration will contribute to the country’s GDP growth because when there are idle youth, you would have youth restiveness but when they are engaged you would see effectiveness so our visit here today is to seal our understanding that we already have going forward.”
Meanwhile, the NALDA boss said the first phase of the training Corps members to be soil doctors was a success, and more will be trained soon to boost the current number of soil doctors.
Also making it known, he (Ikonne) said first completed Integrated Farm Estate in Katsina will be commissioned by end of July, while others will take turns within 2021 after their completion as well.
Speaking also during the MoU signing, the Director General, NYSC, Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim, On the partnership assured that the Corps is ready to commence work on the farm immediately by deploying tractors to site for land clearing.
General Ibrahim also commended the NALDA boss for his passion for young people and their future, and the achievements and impact recorded by NALDA within one year.
He however advised that with the huge human capital the Corps has there is need for more public and private sector organizations to take advantage by tapping into it towards boosting their businesses and growing the economy including reduction of youth unemployment, because the potential and skill of Corps members cannot be overemphasized.
He also said due to his passion for young people he personally take out time to engage and encourage youth service corps members, especially those with agribusiness background to grab the opportunities NALDA offers under the Young Farmers Scheme.
According to him some Corps members whom have benefited from some empowerment schemes of the Corps are doing well as entrepreneurs while serving with no harassment from their host communities.
“The Corps members are knowledgeable and they are very skillful and committed, and all that they want is just to give them the support that they and the sky is their limit”, he said.