The National Agricultural Land Development Authority, NALDA, is to engage thousands of Nigerian youths across the country in agricultural production to enhance food security and economic diversification.
The Executive Secretary of the Agency, Prince Paul Ikonne stated this in Katsina where he paid a working visit preparatory to the take-off of the program nationwide.
Prince Ikonne explained that in the pilot phase of the program, the agency had carefully selected 14 states where it will train 100 youths in three Local Government Areas each on various forms of agricultural production.
He said the pilot states were selected from the six geo-political zones of the country, in collaboration with state Governors and Traditional Leaders.
The ES also indicated that more states will be engaged in subsequent phases of the program to maximize its impact on the economy.
Prince Ikonne noted that “the essence of the program is to engage as many Nigerian youths as possible by giving them enabling environment and empowering them with skills and tools to handle the business aspect of farming”.
“This will enable farmers to get value for their produce, and the global economic trend warrants that we call on everybody to go back to farm.
“The government of President Muhammadu Buhari has assured Nigerians that farming will be fully mechanized to make it more attractive and more profitable, and that is what NALDA is driving at.
He said “in this project, we will engage institutions, corporate bodies, governments, and individuals to lease their land that is not in use so that we could put it to use in a way that will contribute to economic productivity and youth empowerment”.
While at the Government House in Katsina, the NALDA team held a closed-door meeting with Governor Aminu Bello Masari.
While briefing newsmen after the meeting, the governor said Katsina State government will provide agricultural land for NALDA for the purpose of training and engaging youths in agricultural production.
He noted that “80% of our people are farmers and we have projected that our engagement with NALDA will create more jobs for our people while also boosting the rural economy”.
“I believe this approach is a major departure from what NALDA used to do, this is a more practical approach and it will impact directly on the rural and national economy”, Masari said.
Earlier, the team was at the palace of the Emir of Katsina, Alhaji AbdulMumini Kabir Usman where the Executive Secretary solicited the Emir’s support by encouraging rural dwellers in the state to lease out idle land to NALDA to enhance agricultural production in rural areas.
The Emir pledged support for the program while urging the Federal Government to put in more effort in the fight against armed banditry which has obstructed farming and commercial activities in some LGAs in the central and southern parts of the state.
He also appealed to agencies that have a stake in agriculture and forestry at state and federal levels to commit more resources in combating desertification which threatens agricultural land in the Sahel part of the country.
As Nigerians embrace the back to Farm project championed by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Executive Secretary, National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA), Prince Paul Ikonne says registration and volunteering under NALDA by existing and prospective farmers is free.