The federal government said it is hoping to harvest 10,000 tonnes of wheat from its 2,500 hectares pilot wheat farms in Jigawa and eight other states.
Executive secretary of the National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA), Prince Paul Ikonne, disclosed this during the flag off of dry season wheat farming in Jigawa state.
The dry season wheat farming initiative is part of ongoing efforts to bridge wheat production deficit in the country and reduce importation.
While addressing the farmers during the flag off ceremony, Ikonne said the choice of Jigawa state for the official flag off of the dry season wheat farming is largely due to the soil texture of the state which is suitable for wheat production and the governor’s track records in agriculture.
He said the farm which is on a 100 hectares land in Marke town in Kaugama local government area of the state was donated by the state government and its expected to engage 300 hundred youths from the area.
Ikonne, who visited the farm said inputs such as seeds, pumping machines, generators, fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides have been delivered to the selected farmers by NALDA.
The NALDA ES commended the state government on the land donation and asked that more lands be made available for wheat production as the Agency was ready to help turn the state into a wheat production hub in the country.
“This one hundred hectares’ donated or provided by the state government would take 300 hundred farmers which NALDA would be providing them with the seeds, pumping machines, pesticides and herbicides and the end of the day NALDA would do the off taking from them so that farmers would have value, so it is purely an out growers project that NALDA has brought to Jigawa state” he further explained
Expressing his commitment to working with the state on the project, Ikonne said when more lands are made available, the number of youths to be engaged would also expand.
He added that NALDA was 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 earning money.
On his part, the Jigawa State Governor, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, said it has been established that Jigawa State ranks amongst top in wheat production in the country and said with NALDA’s intervention, the state would become the biggest wheat producer in the country.
The governor stated that the effort of the state in agriculture is being complemented by the support from the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration through the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor Borrowers Programme and NALDA’s intervention, while expressing the state’s commitment to render all the needed assistance NALDA would need to execute the project.
“We reiterate our commitment from the governor down to the extension worker that you would need in the field, we are committed to this development, we are committed to agriculture and we are committed to obeying President Muhammadu Buhari who asked us to produce what we eat and eat what we produce”, he said
He appreciated NALDA for training 270 youths in the state to be soil doctors, noting that the gesture would go a long way in boosting best agricultural practices in the state.
On the request for more land, the governor said Jigawa state has over 400,000 hectares of land that is good for all year round farming and that the state was ready to donate more lands to NALDA especially as the purpose is for supporting Jigawa people.