The looming food scarcity in Nigeria has heightened the call for federal government to focus on youth engagement and community-based agricultural approach.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has also identified enhanced agriculture productivity, through adaptation of new technologies and innovations as necessary to ensuring food security and nutrition in the country.
According to FAO, between 2016 and 2019, Nigeria’s cumulative agricultural imports was N3.35 trillion, four times higher than the agricultural export of N803 billion within the same period.
This is an indication that prioritisation of the agricultural sector, is key to attaining self sufficiency in food production in the country.
However, in an effort to achieve agricultural revolution in the country, the federal government, in June last year, resuscitated the National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA), after amending the Act establishing the Agency through the National Assembly, to optimally deliver on its mandate of developing the rural communities through agriculture.
It would be recalled that NALDA was established by the administration of Gen Ibrahim Babangida via Decree No. 92 of 1992, to execute a National Agricultural Land Development Programme that would address the chronic problem of low levels of utilisation of abundant farmland and rural labour resources as well as the high cost of land development.
The agency was however scrapped in 2002, 10 years into its existence, by President Olusegun Obasanjo led administration.
Meanwhile, NALDA recently commissioned it’s first integrated farm estate in Katsina State.
Executive secretary of NALDA, Prince Paul Ikonne, said the project, which was established on 100 hectares is expected to generate over N1.7 billion in the first year, adding that the farm estate comprises 40 poultry pens with a capacity of over 400,000 birds, Fish ponds with a capacity of 200,000 fish, Cow and Goat pens with a capacity of 500 animals, rabbit pens with a capacity of 3,000 rabbits, bee apiary with a capacity of 540 litres of honey per harvest, crop farming, packaging and processing zones.
He said when replicated across the country, it will increase Gross Domestic Product (GDP), reduce unemployment and will go a long way towards achieving food security.
So far, the project has been replicated in Abia, Imo, Ogun, Yobe, Kogi and Kwara states.
100 hectares of land was provided for the project in Kwara State by Agbeyangi community.
The over 100-year old Alangua of Agbeyangi, Aliyu Baba, expressed his appreciation and promised to support the project to see that it succeeds in his lifetime.
Also, a member of the community, Mr Mohammed Abdulkadir, said the 100 hectares of land was donated to NALDA by Agbeyangi and Eleyode communities to wipe away poverty, unemployment, food insufficiency, disease and insecurity from the community and other communities in Kwara State.
With this development, it is hopeful that the country will be able to achieve food security and attain self sufficiency in food production.