By Gabriel Ewepu
THE National Agricultural Land Development Authority, NALDA, disclosed proposed engagement of 800 farmers on its Integrated Farm Estate and Fish Village located in Imo and Abia States respectively.
This was made known by the Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer, CEO, NALDA, Prince Paul Ikonne, during inspection of the Acharaugo Emekuku Integrated Farm Estate in Owerri North, Local Government Area of Imo State.
According to Ikonne the farm estate sits 35 hectares of land, but was abandoned over 30 years ago.
He also hinted that the integrated farm has capacity to engage about 500 farmers, and also will have a veterinary training centre to build capacity of practitioners and train prospective veterinary doctors for necessary professionalism to take care of the animals within the farm.
Meanwhile, he made it known that the agency had signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with the Imo State Government to take the abandoned integrated farm estate, reactivate it, and engage people of the host community.
He said: “Our intention is to make the farm fully functional, bring back the things that used to be there before like the poultry, piggery, goat pens and additional facilities like the processing unit, packaging unit, training centers and snail rearing where farmers will be taught on rearing and processing”
“The land is within 35 hectares but the governor has assured us that he is going to increase it to 100 hectares capacity that would be able to take in all these and then have crop production area.
”For us, it is purely based on President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to reactivate abandoned farm estate and create new ones in order to create employment and achieve food security for the country and also attract the youth to go into farming, so the youth can see farming as a way of life and means of livelihood.”
On the Ariam Fish Village located in Ariam Ikwuano Local Government Area of Abia State, the NALDA boss while on tour of project said it is on100 hectares land that would engage about 300 farmers.
The Fish village would be used used to engage beneficiaries in fish farming, grass-cutter farming and crop production.
“The Ariam Fish village is targeted at empowering women in and around the community and the programme is called ‘Women in Fish Farming’.
“The processing machines are purely international standards and the grass cutter that will be produced here will also be processed, dried and packaged for export and for local consumption.
“We want to promote grass-cutter meat the way we are promoting rabbit products and package it very well. It has to be properly dried as bush-meat which everyone knows that it is very healthy and the market is there”, he said.
He further stated that the fish village is designed to include the entire value chain of fish production, from the hatchery point to rearing, processing and packaging.
He (Ikonne) also described the fish village as first of its kind to be established in the entire south east geopolitical zone.
In the area of crop production, he said the farm will have a crop section like maize production so as to produce for the birds in other locations.
“This is part of Mr. President’s directive to NALDA as measures to develop villages, communities and we can only develop these areas when there is land donations, so any community that makes land available to us can be assured that the land will turn into meaningful use for the benefit of the community to reduce youth restiveness, unemployment and to achieve food security”.
However, on managing the two farms in IMO and Abia effectively, he explained that NALDA would use the same private management formula as it did in Suduje-Daura, Katsina State, and also a commercial bank has shown interest to come in and manage the facility.
He also disclosed that the Acharaugo Emekuku Integrated Farm Estate would be commissioned first week of September 2021.
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