The National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) for the establishment of a rice farm in Ebonyi State.
This initiative is part of the NALDA’s efforts to empower the youth, create jobs, generate wealth and ensure food security in the country under its National Young Farmers Scheme(NYFS).
Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of NALDA, Prince Paul Ikonne, who stated this at the MoU signing ceremony said that NALDA and the NYSC have a lot to offer to make the partnership a huge success.
Under the partnership agreement, the rice farm would be established on 52 hectares of land owned by NYSC in Ezillo, Ishielu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State while NALDA would provide farm inputs and the technical know-how to develop the farm.
According to Ikonne, “NYSC has the foot soldiers and every year it churns them out while NALDA has the land and the technical know-how.
“This understanding is for the manpower and the technical know-how to come together in order to produce the much- needed job opportunities and ensure food security that Mr. President has been advocating in the country”
He said NALDA would tap into the vast resources that NYSC has across the country, to provide sufficient food for Nigerians and engage the corps members into productive ventures.
The Executive Secretary of NALDA revealed that the cultivation of rice was one of the first steps among many other programmes lined up, assuring that NALDA would also establish an Integrated Farm Estate in partnership with the Corps in the nearest future, so that NYSC could produce its own food as well as sell them to generate income for the Corps.
“Nigeria is in dire need of creating job opportunities and this collaboration will contribute to the growth of the country’s Gross Domestic Product(GDP).
“When there are idle youths, you would have youth restiveness, but when they are engaged, you would see effectiveness.
“So our visit here today is to seal the understanding that we already have, going forward”
While briefing the NYSC Director General on the establishment of the Integrated Farm Estates across the country and the progress made so far, Ikonne disclosed that the first of the Farm Estate would be commissioned in Katsina State by the end of July, 2021.
Commenting on the training of corps members as soil doctors, the Executive Secretary said the first phase of the training was successful, adding that NALDA was ready to train more corps members soonest.
Also speaking, the Director General of NYSC, Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim, said the Corps’ human capital development is huge.
Ibrahim underscored the need to tap into the potentials of the corps members for them to contribute meaningfully to national development.
He pointed out that the corps members are skilful and ready to work, if given the necessary support.
His words: “The Corps members are knowledgeable and they are very skillful and committed.
“All that they want is just to give them the support and the sky will be their limit.”
He revealed that some corps members who benefited from some empowerment schemes of the Corps have been doing well in their chosen vocations in various States across the country.
On the partnership, the Director General of NYSC said, the Corps was ready to commence work on the farm immediately by deploying tractors to the site for land clearing.
He further commended the Executive Secretary and management of NALDA for the good work the Authority has been doing across the country.