The National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) is set to establish an Integrated Farm Estate in Kogi State with the aim to improve the livestock sub-sector, reduce farmers/herders clashes and create job opportunities for about 3000 youths in the host community.
The Farm Estate would be established on 700 hectares land in Okwuha Obayin Village, Ajaokuta Local Government Area of the state, donated to NALDA by the state.
NALDA is focusing mainly on livestock (Cattle, Goat, sheep and Poultry) and pasture production in the farm estate, with an irrigation farming system in place to enable all year round food production particularly maize as the farm has natural water source in its path.
The Farm Estate would also create direct and indirect jobs for over 3000 youth and women of the host community.
With Kogi state bordering about ten states in the South-South, South-East, South-Western and the Northern part of the country, the farm estate is expected to serve as a bridge and safe haven for pastoralists relocating from these zones of the country thereby reducing farmers’/herders’ clashes.
In an interactive meeting with the chief of staff to the state governor, the Local government chairman, village head and about 12 land owners who are willingly donating the lands during a visit to the site, executive secretary and chief executive officer of NALDA, Prince Paul Ikonne, reassured the host community that the land would be put to use for their benefit and for the benefit of their community.
“these families that are donating the lands, the federal government is developing the land for you, what we are bringing belongs to you and what it means is that all the youth and women within your village would be engaged in this place”
“it is very simple, it is called Integrated Farm estate, where you will have both school, clinic, crop section, processing section, animal husbandry sections and then we would also have a mini market, residential area and this place would be purely known for meat processing, cow and goat rearing ”
Prince Ikonne noted that the farm is mapped out in such a way that there would be no friction between farmers and herders as the pasture area on the farm would cater for the feed needs of the animals on the farm and also be exported to other parts of the country.
“there would be no issues with herdsmen and farmers because the farm would be well secured, we would have area for pasture production and not just planting it for grass but we would be able to palate it and then take to other parts of the country because of the size of the land you are donating so your community is going to host other communities and it is a big blessing”
While assuring the community of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to easing poverty in the country, the ES said the President intends to make millionaires out of Nigerian youths in the rural areas through agriculture, noting that the community is blessed to be part of the programme.
He added that the land clearing would commence immediately and the first section of the Farm estate would be commissioned by December 2021.
Earlier, when the executive secretary and his team paid a courtesy call on the Kogi State Governor, Mr. Yahaya Bello, before proceeding to inspect the land, he informed that he was in the state to fulfill President Buhari’s directive to establish integrated farm estate in the 109 senatorial zones of the country and create jobs for youths and women in rural communities.
Describing the project as a very strategic one, Ikonne said “You have done a lot in saving the country being a gateway to a lot of states, with this project coming to the state we are very much optimistic that a lot would be achieved, food security would be achieved, employment would be achieved, solving the problem between herdsmen and farmers will be achieved and Nigeria would be on auto drive to achieving food security”
He expressed NALDA’s commitment to partner the state towards the success of the project.
Receiving the NALDA team, Gov. Yahaya Bello, said his government has been able to stabilise and sustain peace and security in the state, noting that herders fleeing different parts of the country migrate to the state and leave peacefully with the locals.
“We as a state have been able to stabilise security, peace and tranquility that is much needed in Nigeria today and we have been able to sustain it, a situation where almost all the herders that are having issues at one point or the other in the southern part of the country would migrate to Kogi state and mingling, leaving and cohabiting with our farmers without conflicts means it takes a lot from us as a state”
He said the project would further enhance the relationship between the locals and migrants into the state since it would create an enabling environment for everyone to cohabit peacefully.
According to the governor, Kogi state serves as a shock absorber for the country as it is always ready to receive people from every part of the country in crisis situations and Integrated Farm Estates in all three Senatorial zones would help cushion the effects of the shock.
While commending President Muhammadu Buhari and NALDA, the governor said Kogi would be a model that would be copied by other states in the country, adding that the host community is ready to welcome and receive NALDA.
Following President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to NALDA to establish farm Estates in all 109 Senatorial zones in the country, to empower and develop rural communities through agriculture, NALDA has since begun establishing farm estates in different parts of the country with one already commissioned in Katsina state