By Gabriel Ewepu
ABUJA- AS yuletide knocks on the door, many Nigerians are apprehensive based on the low purchasing power for needed items, and have also expressed worry on survival ahead of 2023, the National Agricultural Lands Development Authority, NALDA, Monday, declared no food shortage and assured that Nigerians would not go hungry in 2023.
The declaration was made by the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive, National Agricultural Land Development Authority, NALDA, Prince Paul Ikonne, during a media briefing ahead of President Muhammadu Buhari’s unveiling of landmark achievements by NALDA within two years on December 8, 2022, in Abuja.
Ikonne said: “I will assure you that Nigeria will not have any food shortage and I will break it down.
“In 2023, there will not be any food shortage. So any prediction in that direction is doom prediction. Why? Because awareness is being created towards going into farming, and this government of President Muhammadu Buhari is encouraging farmers in all aspects.
“Now, the youth are tilting towards farming. A lot of people are going into farming. So why would we have food shortage, is it as a result of laziness or climate change?
“Now if it is climate change is beyond human capacity but by the virtue of provision, support and encouragement that can come from government to encourage people to go into farming.
“This government is providing it to farmers NALDA is position to support farmers with land preparation, capacity building and support to see that we achieve food security.
“So I don’t see Nigeria going hungry in 2023. You will agree with me that the President was already prepared not knowing that there will be something called COVID-19, and Nigeria did not go cap in hand; first of all short our borders, and yet people did not suffer hunger.
“And then COVID-19 came Nigeria did not collapse. And we don’t pray that there will be another global pandemic that will strike but outside that 2023 will be more fruitful year for Nigeria.”
He further stated that there is no cause for alarm based on what people and organsiations have over and predicted that full blown hunger will hit Nigeria in 2023.
Meanwhile, he said under NALDA integrated farms across the country enough food has been harvested and still ongoing.
“Across the country, like in our Solide farm, we have harvested, harvest and is still going on, and we have taken delivery of taking delivery of 200 bags of sorghum from that farm alone.
“We have goat pens and farms across even in Kaduna, and the Kaduna farm is selling their goats now, the Daura farm is also about selling their goats because this is festival period for them to begin to get money so the farmers can have returns into their pockets.
“The 20 people were sent to Israel for training, they have gone and they are back and integrated. Then we are preparing another set of people that will also now move for capacity building, knowing fully well that capacity building is key to what we are doing.
“Then in Ebonyi States the farm that we had in collaboration with National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, we have harvested and the rice has been sold, and proceeds gone to NALDA and NYSC because it is partnership NYC brought the land while NALDA brought the equipment and the inputs.
“Abia State also, the rice farm harvester and farmers have benefited and the proceeds also have gone to farmers.
“In Niger State as well, we have harvested our rice farm, and at the same time farmers also have also benefited by getting the proceeds from that process.
“In Adamawa State as well we have harvested our rice farm. So the list is endless because you can you don’t see it from Abuja but the people are the rural areas are the ones that are feeling the impact of NALDA, especially in the areas of farm produce.
“Remember, we did rabbit programme in the south and farmers in the south like in Imo State, they are sold their own, and we made so much gain from that rabbit project because we took the droppings from the rabbit as our fertiliser to our farm land mostly in the north till today.
“We still have the rice farm we had in Ebonyi State, the remains of the droppings from the rabbits are still there because they got excess.
“So agriculture is a process and we have started this process and we have ignited a kind of zeal within the communities that have embraced NALDA.”