The Agricultural Lands Development Authority (NALDA) has called on investors to invest in wheat production to reduce importation.
NALDA’s Executive Secretary, Prince Paul Ikonne made the call in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.
Ikonne noted that the demand for wheat had increased, while there was inadequate production of the commodity in the country.
“I call on investors to begin to invest on wheat production as money is being made available to NALDA to position itself in providing infrastructure to aid irrigation system for massive wheat production,’’ he said.
Ikonne said NALDA had established a farm estate in Gombe State and would engage 400 youths to help reduce unemployment.
“This 100 hectares here will engage 200 youths, the other 100 hectares in Nafada will also engage additional 200 youths.
“So, a total of 400 youths will be engaged in this season of wheat production in Gombe State.
“We will encourage farmers to go into wheat production in order to begin to earn a living income from it.
“This will help us reduce the volume we import and consume what we produce.
“Our wheat consumption is more than six million metric tonnes annually, and we are producing about 1.1 per cent of what we consume. Gombe has been positioned as one of the states that would be producing wheat in Nigeria.
“We will need additional sites in terms of land. This community that has provided the land is the immediate beneficiary we will provide in terms of herbicides, pesticides, pumping machines, seeds and technical support,’’ Ikonne said.
He added, “We are here in Gombe State based on the directives of President Muhammadu Buhari, who mandated NALDA to achieve food security and to create job opportunities for our teeming youths through viable agricultural value chains.
“Nigeria as a country is in dire need of wheat, our import is more than what we produce, and we are consuming more than what we produce in terms of wheat.’’
Gov. Muhammadu Yahaya of Gombe State commended NALDA for the project, noting that it was in line with the mandate of President Buhari, in terms of creating employment for youths.
“The dry season wheat production is in line with ongoing efforts to bridge the national deficit in wheat production in the country so as to reduce importation.’’
The governor promised to support all NALDA ongoing projects in the state for the benefit of the people.(NAN)