Zaccheaus Babalola FRCN
The establishment of the National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA)’s Integrated Farm Estate and fish villages in Borno State will provide over 4,000 job opportunities to the indigenes particularly those returning home from the Internally Displace Persons (IDPs) camps.
The Executive Secretary of NALDA, Prince Paul Ikonne, explained that 100 – hectare farm estate is expected to create over 1,500 jobs for the people, the fish farms -about 40 in number – will give over 2,500 women an opportunity to earn a living from fish farming aside from processing and packaging.
Speaking during an inspection tour of the proposed NALDA Integrated Farm Estate under construction in Jere Local Government Area of the state, Ikonne, alongside the State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum, said efforts were being made to ensure that the facilities come into operation before the end of the year.
He noted that Borno has a lot of potentials which remained largely untapped adding that the idea was to discover these opportunities through NALDA’s projects.
According to him, the authority’s intention is to reinstate the IDPs as well as engage them in the entire agricultural value chain and provide them with the enabling environment as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The NALDA boss stressed that Buhari’s vision is to ensure that the authority reactivated abandoned lands, increase farming capacity as well as attract youths into agriculture.
He said that the farm estate strategy remained central to modernising and repositioning the country’s agricultural sector going forward.
Ikonne said NALDA would not be distracted from its present efforts to unravel the agricultural potentials in every state of the federation.
He said the current NALDA initiatives across the country would also help to drastically reduce the nation’s annual food import bill, address unemployment as well as increase the contribution of agriculture to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Ikonne, commended the state governor for the land donation and support as well as his passion towards the development of agriculture stressing that “If we have all the governors in the state throw their support around Mr President’s vision concerning agriculture, I bet you Nigeria will change for good.”
He pointed out that the farm estate would concentrate on livestock – cattle, goat, sheep, poultry and pasture as well as crop production among others.
Projects will boost economy
The Borno state governor, Babagana Zulum, however, said that he was particularly excited about the potential of the project to create jobs for citizens who had lost their sources of livelihood to the current insurgency bedevilling the area.
Zulum said, “The people of this area have completely lost their means of livelihood and having this project in Borno State would ensure that many of our youths would be employed.”
He expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the NALDA Executive Secretary for his commitment to turn around the fortunes of the state.
“And from the bottom of my heart and on behalf of the people of Borno State, we remain eternally indebted to the NALDA executive secretary for the good jobs that he has been doing,” the governor added.
Zulum said, “This again is another thing I want to see happen in Nigeria – the executive secretary is not sitting down in his office but going round to ensure that what they’re doing is right and I encourage him to continue in this spirit.”
The governor also expressed satisfaction over the quality of jobs being executed at the construction site for both the farm estate and the fish farms.
He said, “Looking at the quality of the job which had been done; 90 per cent of the projects done here have excellent quality and we need to partner NALDA.”
He further allayed concerns of the sustainability of the current investments given the wave of insecurity in the state in recent times.
Zulum said a sustainability plan had already been put in place to ensure that the projects were secured from vandals.
According to him, “The number of projects that NALDA is doing in Borno State is mighty because the projects cut across all the 27 local governments areas. But the government has put in place a sustainability mechanism that will ensure the sustenance of these projects.”
He added that “Security is not a big deal because all the areas that have been chosen were chosen together with the Nigerian military and other security agencies but security is not a problem.
“We have factored in risk mitigation measures and other measures and so there shouldn’t be any problem.”
The duo also visited some of the fish farms, residential apartments, schools, and clinics which are at various levels of completion to benefit the workers and their families.