…urges estate developers to provide space for vegetable cultivation

FCT Minister wants agriculture as economic mainstay

By Gabriel Ewepu

THE National Agricultural Land Development Authority, NALDA, has disclosed of 200 youth and women in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, benefit from training on vegetable farming at their backyard under the ‘Grow Your Vegetable’ programme to promote agribusiness.

This was made known by the Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer, NALDA, Prince Paul Ikonne, while answering questions from journalists at the training.

Ikonne also explained reasons behind the training programme, which he said no space should be a waste or unused as far as growing food to fight hunger is concerned, hence the training to utilising available spaces in the environment for vegetable cultivation.

He said: “The FCT beneficiaries are 200, we have provided them with hybrid seeds like pepper, tomato, onion and pumpkin, also fertilizer, to encourage them to start growing their own food.

“Going forward, those that were not able to be trained, they should take the advantage of this information to begin to grow their vegetables at home because it is doable and they have all it takes to do it and I believe they can do it.

“We are starting off from here in Abuja, the next stop will be in Lagos, then Port Harcourt so that we can sensitise them.

“The essence of this programme is to inform us of what we used to know while growing up that our parents used to use every available space at the back of the house or in front of the house to plant vegetables, but urbanization is trying to take that away, thereby making live in the urban city more expensive than the ones in the rural areas.

“But NALDA is trying to encourage you to grow your vegetables in order to reduce your cost of living.

He also made it known that, “President Muhammadu Buhari has mandated NALDA to encourage all Nigerians to grow what the eat and eat what we grow and one of the easiest way to get everyone on board is to introduce Grow Your Vegetable Programme, which whether you are a landlord or tenant, you can grow the food within your environment using, used bags or broken buckets.”

However, he called on estate developers to consider providing space in the estates for cultivation of vegetables instead of flowers that cannot produce food for the households, and then charged trainees to also transform their flower pots to vegetable pots for fresh food production, and not wait until they have large expanse of farmland.

Meanwhile, the Minister of FCT, Mohammad Bello, represented by the Managing Director, Abuja Enterprise, Shehu Abdulkadir, said agriculture should be revamped and made mainstay of the economy.

Bello also expressed optimism that the training will help households to reduce cost of buying vegetables as it will also go a long way to implement Government’s Back to Farm Initiative,

“Agriculture was the mainstay of the economy and in these challenging economic times, this initiative by NALDA will go a long way in not only providing some financial succour to families, but will be an added boost to the implementation of the Federal Government’s ‘Back To Farm Initiative’.

“It is my sincere hope that this programme will once more increase an awareness amongst Nigerians on the benefits of backyard vegetables farming not just for healthy and more nutritious diet, but also the renaissance of agriculture as mainstay of our economy”, he said.

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