In pursuit of its mission, the National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) said it has set machinery in motion towards mobilising youths back to farm through the Back-to-Farm and National Young Farmers Scheme.
The new Executive Secretary of NALDA, Prince Paul Ikonne, who disclosed this in Umuahia, Abia State during his visit to the state governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, said the revival of the hitherto moribund NALDA was motivated by his passion and drive to ensure food security across the country.
While noting that NALDA would establish two processing centres in the state, he expressed delight that many communities had already started donating land for various agro value chains of the Federal Government.
He informed the governor that some prominent indigenes of Ukwa West Local Council Area also approached his agency with a request to help resuscitate the multimillion-naira moribund Golden Chicken Farms at Ogwe, indicating that NALDA could work on the proposal if approved by the state government.
In his response, Governor Ikpeazu, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the choice of Ikonne for the position, promising that his administration would collaborate with NALDA towards achieving its mandate.
He added that his administration has mainstreamed agriculture as an alternative source of income, stressing that it provides not only industrial raw materials, but the capacity to create job and employment opportunities.
“Agriculture is key for the survival of any society. Abia State government would give necessary support for the success of the NALDA National Youth Farmers Scheme for which Abia has been selected to participate in the pilot stage.”
He urged Ikonne to approach his new position from a multi-sectorial angle and look for a possible way of assisting in addressing the menace of soil and gully erosion ravaging various parts of the state.
According to Ikpeazu, his administration had placed orders and paid for machinery for the establishment of some cottage agro industries from Tiny Tech Corporation of India, stating that their arrival is hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.