ABUJA – National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) has said 500 farmers would be engaged in Acharaugo Emekuku Integrated Farm Estate in Owerri North Local Government Area of Imo State.
The farm estate which comprises 35 hectares of land, would be reactivated by NALDA, having been abandoned for over 30 years.
Prince Paul Ikonne, Executive Secretary of NALDA, who disclosed this while on an inspection tour of the farm estate, said the Authority had already signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Imo State government to take over the abandoned integrated farm estate, reactivate it and engage the people of the community in farming activities.
He explained that the farm estate has the capacity to engage about 500 farmers directly, adding that there would be the establishment of a veterinary training centre to give practitioners and prospective veterinary doctors the opportunity to be trained and acquire knowledge on how to take care of the animals within the farm.
He said: “Our intention is to make the farm fully functional, bring back the things that used to be there, such as the poultry, piggery, goat pens and additional facilities like the processing unit, packaging unit, training centres and snail rearing where farmers will be taught on rearing and processing”
“The land is within 35 hectares but the Governor has assured us that he is going to increase it to 100 hectares capacity that would be able to take in all these and then have crop production area.
”For us, it is purely based on President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to reactivate abandoned farm estate and create new ones in order to create employment and achieve food security for the country and also attract the youth to go into farming, so the youth can see farming as a way of life and means of livelihood.”
He revealed that the Acharaugo Emekuku Integrated Farm Estate would be officially commissioned in the first week of September, 2021.
While on an inspection tour of NALDA’s Fish village in Ariam Ikwuano Local Government Area of Abia State, the NALDA boss said the fish village is on 100 hectares of land which would engage about 250 to 300 direct beneficiaries in areas of fish farming, grass cutter farming and crop production.
“The processing machines are purely international standards and the grass cutter that will be produced here will also be processed, dried and packaged for export and for local consumption.
“We want to promote grass cutter meat the way we are promoting rabbit products and package it very well.
“It has to be properly dried as bushmeat which everyone knows that it is very healthy and the market is there,” he said.
Commenting on the fish village, Ikonne said the fish village would be the first of its kind in the entire South East, adding that it would involve the entire value chain of fish production from the hatchery point to rearing, processing and packaging.
He explained that the Ariam Fish village was targeted at empowering women in and around the community under NALDA’s Women in Fish Farming Programme.
In the area of crop production, he said the farm will have a crop section like maize production so as to produce for the birds in other locations.
“This is part of Mr. President’s directive to NALDA as measures to develop villages, communities and we can only develop these areas when there is land donations, so any community that makes land available to us can be assured that the land will turn into meaningful use for the benefit of the community to reduce youth restiveness, unemployment and to achieve food security,” he explained.
On the management of the farm estates in the two locations, the NALDA Executive Secretary said the Authority would use the same private management formula used in Suduje-Daura, Katsina State, adding that one of the banks has indicated interest to manage the facilities.
Source: Daily Independent