Kwara state in North Central Nigeria is the latest state in the country to commence the development of the National
Agricultural Land Development Authority’s Integrated Farm Estate which is aimed at achieving food security and creating job opportunities for youth and women in rural communities in Nigeria.
The farm estate in Kwara is located on a 100 hectares land in Agbeyangi Community in Ilorin East Local Government Area of the state and it targeted at engaging over 2000 farmers in farming activities and animal husbandry, the estate after completion is expected to generate millions of Naira annually.
The Executive Secretary of NALDA, Prince Paul Ikonne while addressing residents of the community, highlighted NALDA’s plan for the farm estate saying it would be one of the biggest in the cultivation of yam, cassava and maize and a portion of the land would be reserved for goat, rabbit and grass cutter rearing, processing and packaging.
“We are here to inspect and accept officially the 100 hectares of land donated by this community for NALDA’s integrated farm estate which the president mandated us to develop in all the senatorial zones to achieve food security and create Job”
“The contractor has done a very good job in clearing the provided land and the community as well is willing and ready, to be engaged in this commendable landmark of the federal government. This also has afforded us the opportunity to educate the community that this project belongs to them.”
Prince Ikonne noted that the farm estate would also boast of an irrigation system that would enable all year round farming, saying the project would engage not less than 2000 people in the various sections of the farm.
“This will empower the youth and women. The desire of the President is to ensure that our youths are engaged and attracted into agricultural business. Everything that is needed to start this farm is available, ” We will have all year round production. We will produce enough first for the community to have enough to eat, then it goes out to the state then to other states, the benefits are beyond the community.
FARM ESTATE NOT RUGA
On the fears being expressed in some quarters that the Integrated Farm Estate being established in the country is same as the infamous proposed Ruga system the NALDA boss said project is aimed at achieving food security and has nothing to do with Ruga as it is community based.
“This project is not for political reason the president because of his passion wants to achieve food security before leaving office; he does not want to leave Nigeria the way he inherited it, so he wants to use agriculture to reduce unemployment.
“It is something that every community that has land should key into for their benefit, you can see that the place is opening up, it can no longer be a hiding place for criminals when there is development there is hope for the people.” He said
He urged communities to key into the project, saying “the project is not supposed to be used for politics or to distract people from getting involved, rather am encouraging every community to key into it like this community has keyed into it”.
Ikonne noted that if a state does not show interest no matter how willing the community is to give the land, it will be difficult for Federal Government to come in.
He said that with the presence of the Farm Estate in the community, it would first develop the community, create jobs for the people, increase their incomes through agriculture, and increase the GDP such that their standard of living would improve greatly.
VISIT TO COMMUNITY HEAD
Earlier the NALDA boss and other officials visited the palace of the traditional head, the Alangua of Agbeyangi, Aliyu Baba, to brief him of NALDA’s activities and how it would benefit the members of the community.
Responding on behalf of the community, Mr Mohammed Abdulkadir said the land was donated to NALDA by Agbeyangi and Eleyode community so that can be put to use for the benefit of the community and by so doing, end poverty, unemployment, food insufficiency, disease and insecurity from the community and other communities in kwara state.
He said a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed to activate the implementation process of the project.
According to him, the land provided for the project is a plain terrain with rich soil with potential to access surface and subterranean water supply to galvanize all forms of agricultural practices slated for the achievement of the project’s development objective.
“This community promises its cooperation with the government through the NALDA in areas of providing protection for the plant and equipment to be installed to ensure its success.”
Residents of Agbeyangi Community were seen jubilation as they chant songs and dance celebrating the dawn of a new day.