In a bid to ensure national food security post-Covid-19 pandemic, National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) is to engage 774,000 young farmers across the 774 local government areas of the country in the next six months.
The newly inaugurated Executive Secretary of NALDA, Prince Paul Ikonne disclosed this in Abuja on Monday at a Press Conference to kick-start the activities of the agricultural interventionist agency after being moribund for 20 years.
He said the scheme was part of the three-prone federal government efforts at ensuring a post-Covid-19 national food security. Other projects are Back to Farm and providing farm inputs.
"These 3 programs are our starting point in order to meet the immediate mandate of Mr. President for providing food for all and we intend to achieve this within the next 6 months," the Executive Secretary stated.
Tagged "Buhari Young Farmers Network" (BYFN) the NALDA boss said the young farmers will be drawn from the 774 Local Governments in the country, with a pilot number of 100 per local Government.
According to Ikonne, with the "Buhari Young Farmers Network initiative, we intend to have 77,400 young farmers injected into Nigerian farming business across the nation in different farming activities ranging from crop farming to animal husbandry.
"These young farmers will be drawn from the 774 Local Governments, with a pilot number of 100 per local Government. In this initiative we will partner with Governors for provision or donation of land and other stakeholders as this will create employment and ensure increase in food production".
For the actualization of the scheme, the NLADA Executive Secretary said the authority will partner with the 36 State Governors for the provision or donation of land that will create employment for the young farmers and ensure adequate food production..
The authority also intends to embark on "Back to Farm" project. This is aimed encouraging various institutions such as the military and paramilitary organizations, NASS members, civil and public servants, journalists, corporate bodies, religious organizations and individuals to go back into farming.
The Executive Secretary said the choice of the institutions for the project was informed by the availability of land by these institutions that could be effectively used for farming.
"These organizations mentioned and some individuals have land that are not being put to use, so we intend to encourage them to use these lands for farming even if it is for personal consumption," he disclosed.
He also said that the authority will provide improved seeds, fertilizers, machinery, environmentally friendly crop protection agents, growth enhancers and trainings which will be given to already existing farmers and this will assist them during this farming season in order to improve their yield.
- Jimi Anjolaoluwa - Abuja.