From Abdulrazaq Mungadi, Gombe
The Federal Government (FG) of Nigeria on Monday says it has engaged 400 youth farmers to participate in this year’s dry season Wheat production in Gombe State.
According to the government, the program was part of efforts to ensure food security and provide job opportunities for the teaming unemployed youths in the country.
This was revealed by Prince Paul Ikonne, the Executive Secretary (ES) of the National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) while speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony for the 2021 dry season wheat production in Gombe.
He said that: “The program is in line with the directives of President Muhammadu Buhari, that have mandated NALDA to achieve food security and provide job opportunities for our teeming youths through the entire agricultural value chain.
“Nigeria as a country is in dire need of Wheat production, our import values are more than what we produce and we are consuming more than what we produce in terms of Wheat and that makes Wheat production very lucrative and very attractive for farmers,” Ikonne said.
He explained that: “Our Wheat consumption is more than 6 million metric tons annually and we are producing less than that, like 1.1 per cent of what we consume.
“So, NALDA is encouraging farmers to go into Wheat production in other to earn meaningful income as that will help us to reduce the volume that we import. Gombe has been positioned by the natural nature as one of the states that will be producing Wheat for the consumption of Nigeria,” he added.
The ES also said that, for the program which is being piloted in two out of the 11 Local Government Areas (LGA) in Gombe state, NALDA will be providing the 400 farmers with seeds and other inputs, including pumping machines and the technical know-how to go into Wheat production.
“We are encouraging our youths to be more productive and make money from Wheat production, it is a lucrative business and the federal government is positioned to support youths and farmers in the area of Wheat production,” he said.
On his part, Gombe state governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahya commended President Buhari for boosting and making agriculture more attractive and to ensure food security in the country.
He said: “NALDA is following President Muhammadu Buhari’s mandate to make agriculture attractive to youths in the country and encourage them to see agriculture as a way of life and means of livelihood so as to attain economic prosperity.”
The Governor explained that the dry season Wheat production is part of ongoing efforts to bridge the national deficit in wheat production. He said: “The project is targeting 9 states at the moment with a land size of about 2,500 hectares and expected yield of about 10,000 metric tons of wheat.
“The state governments are to provide the lands while inputs such as seeds, pumping machines, generators, fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides are to be delivered to the selected farmers by NALDA.
Gombe State Government is the only state in the federation that ensured bush clearing, land preparation and wash boreholes for the farmers as a means of subsidy to the loans by NALDA,” Governor Yahaya said while expressing that the state is to be part of the project which he described as national feet being achieved under Buhari.