James Emejo in Abuja
The Executive Secretary/Chief Executive, National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA), Prince Paul Ikonne, has said its integrated farm estates in Abia and Imo States are ready for inauguration by the federal government.
He said the projects would benefit over 400 youths and women particularly at the 100-hectare Ariam Eluelu farm estate which was donated by the community while NALDA undertook the land clearing exercise.
The farm currently boasts of 50 fish ponds with a capacity of 150,000 fingerlings and 3,000 fishes already completed. The facility also included there solar powered industrial boreholes to cater for the water needs of the farm, as well as a two-kilometer road with drainages, solar powered street lights, office block and residence. The estate also provided for space for crop cultivation among others.
Ikonne pointed out that the integrated farm programme was being implemented in line with President Muhammed Buhari’s mandate to NALDA to resuscitate the rural economy through agriculture by creating jobs as well as encouraging Nigerians to produce “what we eat and eat what we produce”.
The NALDA boss, during an inspection tour of the facilities, said the idea was to empower youths and inject life back into rural communities in order to check rural-urban migration.
Also, to be reactivated is the 35-hectare Acharaubo Emekuku integrated farm estate in Owerri North Local Government Area of Imo State, which had been abandoned for over 30 years.
Ikonne said NALDA had resuscitated some of the existing facilities on the farm as well as measures to boost productivity.
The farm currently has six poultry houses with 18 pens that contain about 10,000 birds, three goat houses with 196 goats, three piggeries containing 108 pigs among others.
The authority had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the state government to take recover the abandoned farm assets as well as revive them for the benefits of rural dwellers.
The programme is ultimately geared towards achieving food security in the country.