…Targets N1.7bn In The First Year
ABUJA – Prince Paul Ikonne, Executive Secretary/ Chief Executive Officer of National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) has said its commissioned Integrated Farm Estate in Suduje, Katsina State, would employ over 1,500 youths and women.
Ikonne who stated this on Monday in Katsina at the commissioning of the first NALDA’s Integrated Farm Estate by President Muhammadu Buhari, said the farm would generate N1.7 billion in its first year of operation.
He explained that the Integrated Farm Estate was designed with complete production chain for food and livestock, an irrigation system so that farmers would have three production cycles in a year.
To guarantee continuity and sustainability, Ikonne said a management system has been put in place whereby Jaiz Bank would manage the entire facility with a team of NALDA’s professionals, adding that the entire farm has the capacity to generate over N1.7billion in the first year.
Giving the description and overview of the Integrated Farm Estate, he said: “It is established on a 100-hectare land donated by the Katsina State Government.
“This farm is designed as cyclical, where every process is part of a value chain. It is divided into 80 hectares for crop production and 20 hectares for animal production, processing and packaging, with growing of feeds, which include recycling animal wastes as fertilizer for plants, and growing plants to feed the animals.”
“The ecosystem is best appreciated with low cost, domestically fabricated machineries like the incubators, ovens, and battery cages which can be easily understood and adapted by the farming community. The Integrated Farm Estate comprises 40 poultry pens with a capacity of over 400,000 birds; fish ponds with a capacity of 200,000 fishes; cow and goat pens with a capacity of 500 animals; rabbit pens with a capacity of 3,000 rabbits and bee apiary with a capacity of 540 litres of honey per harvest.”
Other components of the farm estate, according to him, include “crop farming, packaging and processing zones as well as a school, clinic and a residential area, with 120 units of one- bedroom apartments so that some farmers and their families can live and work in the farm.”
The Executive Secretary of NALDA said the Integrated Farming System (IFS) holds a special position as nothing is wasted, the by-product of one system becomes the input for another.
He noted that with the farm’s poultry, fishery, rabbitry and bee keeping unit, about 95% of the nutritional requirement of the system is self-sustained through resource recycling.
He assured that the project would be replicated across the country to increase the nation’s Gross Domestic Product(GDP), reduce unemployment and ensure food security.
Ikonne further pointed out that a number of enterprises would spring up in the vicinity where the farm estate is established, which would lead to increase in the profit margin of these enterprises and further generate employment opportunities to the communities for all year round farming as well as provide better economic and nutritional security.
“Following the vision of the President to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty, with focus on the most vulnerable members of the society like widows, poor and unskilled, and teeming youths, the NALDA Integrated Farm is deliberately designed to accommodate, empower and position a new set of 1,500 agro- entrepreneurs every year from this category.
“This programme is under NALDA’s National Young Farmers Scheme (NYFS), which Mr. President launched in November, 2020. We will take in new farmers every year (and farmers pass out and move on to become independent after being trained and making money). This will attract and keep young people busy in crop and livestock production all year round.”
Therefore, he showered enconiums on President Muhammadu Buhari led administration for resuscitating NALDA and providing it with funding support to deliver on its mandate.
He said: “Your Excellency, Mr. President, after resuscitating NALDA a year ago to a more functional structure in supporting your vision for agricultural revolution, you gave a directive for a bottom-up inclusion that will adequately capture the capacity of local farmers, inspire interest in mechanised farming and create a turnaround in the perception of agriculture as a business, not just for self-sufficiency.”
“Agriculture, indeed, is no longer for the poor and uneducated, but for everyone, including the rich and educated. We are glad agriculture is steadily taking its pride of place as mainstay of the Nigerian economy. There is no doubt that the hallmark of this administration remains the people- focused, people-styled and people-driven development policies that continue to yield amazing results, particularly in food and livestock production, with emerging agro-entrepreneurs.
“On assumption of office in 2015, Your Excellency, you set a clear target that “we must produce what we eat and eat what we produce’’ and that has turned into a mantra for growth, and a rallying call to return to the farms.
“Across the country today, many agricultural institutions have sprung up and existing ones have been strengthened, and the green revolution, which is reflected in initiatives like the Food Security Council, Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI), ban on importation of foodstuff and closure of borders for a period are clear signals of the seriousness you have attached to the development of the economy.”
Ikonne further tasked the host community to make judicious use of the huge investment, adding that farmers drawn from 13 participating communities such as Suduje, Madobi, Kaya, Sharawa, Sukwanawa, Dadinkowa, Daberan, Benga, Kurneji, Zari, Mazuji, Tambu and Dannakola would be trained on best agricultural practices in crop farming, livestock, poultry, rabbits and fish farming.