President Muhammadu Buhari has directed National Land Development Authority (NALDA) to establish at least 108 integrated farm estates across Nigeria’s senatorial districts to boost food production across the country.
Executive Secretary of the agency, Paul Ikonne, who disclosed this on Sunday, explained that the directive was part of the outcome of his meeting with Mr Buhari in Abuja.
He revealed that the president had inaugurated one of the farms in Daura, adding that NALDA will see to the setup of the remaining 108 farms, in line with the presidential directive.
“The president gave the directive that we must make agriculture attractive to young Nigerians so that they will be engaged,” stated Mr Ikonne. “I am glad to inform you that the directive has not been taken kindly. That is why we are not sleeping because when the President speaks, it is a command.”
Speaking further, the NALDA boss noted, “We can’t wait when we have such a command from the president, knowing full well that agriculture is his heartbeat and he wants to achieve food security.”
Mr Ikonne added that the president had directed NALDA to put up the integrated farm estates in the remaining 108 senatorial districts.
“For those states that have made lands available, they can as well testify that no time is being wasted because we have swung into action,” he explained. “So, I call on other governors to key into the president’s desire and make lands available for these farm estates to be established. This will take away youths from the unemployment market, and we will be able to achieve food security within a very short period.”
According to him, the recent presidential inauguration of Daura Integrated Farm Estate can engage 1,500 young farmers.
He explained that arrangements were already ongoing to put up processing centres in all the farm estates to discourage the importation of finished products.
“In all our farm estates, finished products are our target so that Nigeria will cut the chain of exporting raw materials and later buy them because most of our agricultural products are purely raw materials like ginger, garlic, and onions,” said Mr Ikonne. “So we are putting up processing centres in all our farm estates in order to create more job opportunities for us.”