President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the National Land Development Authority (NALDA) to establish integrated farm estates in all the senatorial districts across the country.
Executive Secretary of the agency, Paul Ikonne disclosed this to State House Correspondents after he met with the Nigerian leader on Thursday.
According to Ikonne, already the President has inaugurated one of such integrated farms in Daura, Katsina State and NALDA is poised to accomplish the remaining 108 farms, in line with the presidential directive.
He said the aim is to ensure that the giant strides already made in agriculture under the current administration are sustained.
The NALDA boss, therefore, called on States to donate land for that purpose, adding that the scheme can help Nigeria generate more employment as well as to attain food security.
“The President gave directives that we must make agriculture attractive to young Nigerians so that they will be engaged and I am glad to inform that the directive is not been taken kindly that is why we are not sleeping because when the President speaks it is a command.
“We can’t wait when we have such a command from the President, knowing fully well that agriculture is his heartbeat and he wants to achieve food security. If for his proactive nature towards farming, COVID-19 would have knocked everybody out; having been locked up in a room or house for one year, nobody went to farm because of coronavirus but because of the proactive action he took before COVID-19 came, there was enough food for Nigerian to eat.
“The President has directed that we should put up these integrated farm estates in the remaining 108 senatorial districts and NALDA is ready to roll out. For those states that have made the land available, they can as well testify that no time is been wasted because we have swung into action.
“So I call on other state Governors to key into the President’s desire and make land available for these farm estates to be established as this will take away the youths from the unemployment market and we will be able to achieve food security in a very short period of time,” Ikonne explained.
He said the recent Presidential inauguration of the Daura Integrated Farm Estate which has the capacity to engage 1500 young farmers is an eye-opener to Nigerians regarding President Buhari’s passion for achieving food security.
Ikonne said NALDA intends to put up processing centers in all the farms, to discourage the importation of finished products.
According to him: “What the President is doing, the foundation he is laying in agriculture is what Nigerians would live to remember him for. No other government has done as much as the President has done in agriculture and that is why Nigeria is getting close to sustaining food sufficiency.
“In all our farm estates, finished products are our target so that Nigeria will cut the chain of exporting raw materials out of this country and later buy them because most of our agricultural products are purely raw materials like ginger, garlic and onions among others.
“They export them, and then they are processed and brought back. So we are putting up processing centers in all our farm centers in order to create more job opportunities for us.”
The NALDA Executive Secretary said Nigerians would later in life remember President Buhari for what he is presently doing for the agricultural sector.