Kwara State government has launched a pilot scheme of 500-hectare ‘Farm Kwara’ in Ifelodun local government area to create farming communities that will nurture future agripreneurs, improve the productivity of smallholder farmers and boost food security in the state.
The scheme will soon begin the process of accessing 500 hectares of land in other councils to establish farm estates and allocate up to five hectares each to 100 young farmers.
The initiative, an offshoot of the recently launched Kwara State Agricultural Transformation Plan, is being facilitated by the state government to help young farmers to get land and financial facilities which will be paid back under a win-win arrangement.
Speaking at the launch of “Farm Kwara: in Adanla community of Ifelodun local government, the deputy governor Kayode Alabi said at least half of the youth beneficiaries would be women and that participants would be provided with inputs, mechanisation and technical support to ensure sustainability in partnership with private sector operators.
Represented by the permanent secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mariam Muhammad, Alabi said, “Today’s programme is another effort at ensuring food security and developing and expanding the vast agricultural potential of the state and the country at large. For our country to achieve food security, we must first ensure the transformation of the agricultural sector from the age-long subsistence practice to a productively smart and innovative enterprise that is not only eco-friendly but sustainable. This can be achieved by attracting modern techniques in agricultural commodity values in the state. This is essentially the hallmark of the National Youth Farm Programme.
“On our part as a government, we will leave no stone unturned in meaningfully engaging our youths and women in different productive ventures to fight hunger and poverty in our land,” he said.
The technical assistant to the governor on agriculture, AbdulQowiy Olododo, said the programme is one of the initiatives of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq’s administration to ensure that youths are gainfully employed.
“Basically, the government has supported the beneficiaries with land clearing and this project is being supported by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Sterling Bank and IITA, Ibadan, to engage the youth on agribusiness,” he said.
The senior special assistant to the governor on community intervention, Kayode Oyin-Zubair, said the government is supporting the development of the state through the bottom-up approach to ensure even development and reduce rural-urban drift.
Also, the senior special assistant to the governor on job creation, Aliyu Alhassan, said “Farm Kwara”, which is designed to nurture agripreneurs, would be commercially-driven.
He said the state government had cleared the 500 hectares of land for the benefitting farmers in Adanla, adding that the same would be replicated across the 16 local government areas of the state.
The Elerin of Adanla, Oba David Adedunmoye, commended the state government for not only transforming the economy but for also raising a cream of agriprenuers to make youth job creators and curb youth restiveness in the state.
Oba Adedunmoye urged the government to make the scheme a revolving one to check unemployment and fight poverty in the state.