…as over 30 years abandoned 35 hectares farm set for commissioning – NALDA
…empowering women, youth with agribusiness our priority – Ikonne
By Gabriel Ewepu
AS non-oil export tops revenue generation in the country, and the Buhari-led administration’s quest to make agribusiness major driver of the economy, the National Agricultural Lands Development Authority, NALDA, yesterday, disclosed that 400 women and youths are set to benefit from its integrated farm estate in Ariam Elu Elu community in Ikwuano Local Government Area of Abia State.
The disclosure was made by the Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer, NALDA, Prince Paul Ikonne, while on an inspection tour of the 100 hectares farm donated by the Ariam Elu Elu community, which NALDA did the land clearing for the project to commence.
He also explained that the 400 women and youth from the community were trained and ready to man the farm estate for business and economic benefits while NALDA will provide technical support.
According him, the farm is capable of generating huge revenue annually when it becomes fully operational after the commissioning in few weeks to come.
Ikonne also maintained that NALDA is out to ensure women and young people are empowered with agribusiness skills in order to boost food security, food sufficiency, and drastically reduce youth unemployment in the country.
He further stated that the integrated farm estate in Ariam Elu Elu community is a deliberate move by the Buhari-led administration to bring back life into the rural economy and curb unnecessary rural-urban migrations, which similar projects are being executed in other parts of the country by the Federal Government through NALDA.
According to him, the project in Abia State is part of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s mandate to ensure youths are gainfully employed and empowered with modern agribusiness skills and knowledge and also as a way to replace aging farmers.
He also made it known that the facility has 50 fish ponds with a capacity of 150, 000 fingerlings and 3,000 fishes, and all has been completed; three solar-powered industrial boreholes for constant water supply in the farm; 2 kilometers road network with drainages; solar-powered street lights; office block; and residence.
Also the farm has high yielding pest resistant 40,000 Dwarf Cavendish; Valerie and Big Lady Finger species of banana trees planted on 25 hectares of the land within the farm.
In a related development, the NALDA boss also disclosed that the 35 hectares Acharaubo Emekuku Integrated Farm Estate in Owerri North, Local Government Area of Imo State, abandoned for over 30 years is ready for commissioning after its reactivation by NALDA.
It would be recalled that NALDA had signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with the Imo State Government to take over the abandoned farm for reactivation, and engaging women and youths from the community.
Interestingly, the agency has resuscitated part of the farm, while provision of facilities is being made to commence production activities.
According to him (Ikonne), facilities in the farm include six poultry houses with 18 pens with capacity of 10,000 birds; three goat houses with 196 goats accommodated; three piggeries with 108 pigs; three solar-powered boreholes; access roads with drainage; and solar powered street lights.
The farm is also set to create employment youth and women from the community, which are already beneficiaries trained on different aspects of agribusiness on the farm, who were on the farm during an NALDA’s inspection.