With capacity to engage 1,500 women, youth directly
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
As agribusiness is set in a motion to replace white-collar jobs in other sectors, President Muhammadu Buhari, Monday, commissioned National Agricultural Lands, NALDA, maiden Integrated Farm Estate in Suduje, Katsina State, which is worth generating over N1.7 billion in the first year.
The disclosure was made by the Executive Secretary/CEO of National Agricultural Land Development Authority, NALDA, Prince Paul Ikonne, while delivering an address of welcome.
Ikonne said the first NALDA Integrated Farm Estate is established on 100-hectare land donated by the Katsina State Government, which he also appreciated the magnanimity of Governor Aminu Bello Masari, for providing support through his Commissioner of Women Affairs.
According to him the participating farmers at the farm estate are from 13 communities including Suduje, Madobi, Kaya, Sharawa, Sukwanawa, Dadinkowa, Daberan, Benga, Kurneji, Zari, Mazuji, Tambu and Dannakola.
He said the farmers are being trained on best agricultural practices in crop farming, livestock, poultry, rabbits, and fish farming.
Meanwhile, the NALDA boss said the integrated farm has a processing and packaging zone for fish, chicken and pepper. Farmers from outside the Estate will also have their products, especially pepper processed and packaged so they can get more value.
He said: “This farm is designed as cyclical, where every process is part of a value chain. It is divided into 80 hectares for crop production and 20 hectares for animal production, processing and packaging, with growing of feeds, which include recycling animal wastes as fertilizer for plants, and growing plants to feed the animals.
“The ecosystem is best appreciated with low cost, domestically fabricated machineries like the incubators, ovens, and battery cages which can be easily understood and adapted by the farming community.
“The Integrated Farm Estate comprises: 40 poultry pens with a capacity of over 400,000 birds; Fish ponds with a capacity of 200,000 fishes; Cow and Goat pens with a capacity of 500 animals; Rabbit pens with a capacity of 3,000 rabbits; Bee apiary with a capacity of 540 litres of honey per harvest; Crop farming, packaging and processing zones.
“The Estate has a school, clinic and a residential area, with 120 units of one bedroom apartments so that some farmers and their families can live and work in the farm. This farm has the capacity to engage 1,500 women and youth directly.”
He also maintained that, “Sustainable development is the only way to promote rational utilization of resources and environmental protection. The Integrated Farming System (IFS) holds a special position as nothing is wasted, the by-product of one system becomes the input for another.
“With the farm’s poultry, fishery, rabbitry and bee keeping unit, about 95 per cent of the nutritional requirement of the system is self-sustained through resource recycling.
“As the number of enterprises increase, the profit margin also increases and further generate employment opportunities to the farming communities all year round and provide better economic and nutritional security. This will go a long way to uplifting rural life through increased income.
“Following the vision of the President to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty, with focus on the most vulnerable members of the society like widows, poor and unskilled, and teeming youths, the NALDA Integrated Farm is deliberately designed to accommodate, empower and position a new set of 1,500 agroentrepreneurs every year from this category.
“This programme is under NALDA’s National Young Farmers Scheme (NYFS), which Mr President launched in November 2020. We will take in new farmers every year (and farmers pass out and move on to become independent after being trained and making money). This will attract and keep young people busy in crop and livestock production all year round.
“The NALDA Integrated Farm Estate is designed with complete production chain for food and livestock, an irrigation system so that farmers will have three production cycles in a year.
“With the mandate of NALDA, through the Act establishing it, as an agricultural land development authority, this project is a true reflection of what NALDA is meant to achieve in every community in terms of impact by improving standard of living and income generation.”
The NALDA boss also disclosed that the entire project was achieved under six months and it would not have been possible “without Mr President’s direct supervision of NALDA.”
He also appreciated President Buhari for his genuine commitment to achieving food security and love for Nigeria and Nigerians, and expressed hope that, “This project, when replicated across the country will increase GDP, reduce unemployment and will go a long way towards achieving food security.
“Your Excellency, Mr President, after resuscitating NALDA a year ago to a more functional structure in supporting your vision for agricultural revolution, you gave a directive for a bottom-up inclusion that will adequately capture the capacity of local farmers, inspire interest in mechanized farming and create a turnaround in the perception of agriculture as a business, not just for self-sufficiency.
“Let me place on record, the support of the Vice Chairman of the Food Security Council Sen. Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, the Kebbi State Governor, for his support, good advice and encouragement I am indeed grateful, please sir do not stop.
He also recognized the effort and vision for some Governors that have keyed into NALDA’s mandate, and assured that such commissioning will soon be taking place in their States as well.
However, he advised the host community to make judicious use of the investment.