FG inaugurates120 housing units, empowerment centre for farmers

The Federal Government, on Saturday, announced the inauguration of 120 housing units and an empowerment centre for farmers in Borno State.

It announced this through the National Agricultural Land Development Authority, stating that the move was part of efforts to reduce poverty and boost food production in Nigeria.

It said the facilities, located in Dustman Village, Zawiya, Borno State, consist of a clinic, a school for farmers’ children, a worship centre, solar-powered boreholes and access roads.

“It is segmented into fish ponds, poultry houses, goat pens in its production area, raffia and an already finished empowerment centre where women and youths would undergo training,” the authority stated in a statement issued in Abuja.

It said the beneficiaries were drawn from the Internally Displaced Persons camp in the state.

NALDA, a Federal Government agency, has the mandate of developing integrated farm estates across the country, making idle land productive and boosting agricultural production, as well as empowering youths and women.

It conducts land surveys and allocates land for agricultural purposes, ensuring equitable distribution and promoting responsible land use, among other functions.

The Executive Secretary, NALDA, Paul Ikonne, who inaugurated the housing units alongside the Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum, in Maiduguri, the state capital, explained he signed on Saturday, that the initiative was to encourage young Nigerians to venture into agriculture.

He was quoted as saying, “Today, we commissioned 120 housing units built for farmers in Borno. The aim is to give farmers a good accommodation. The other centre is the agriculture empowerment centre where youths and women would be trained within three to four months.

“Thereafter, they will be given startup packs to enable them to do agric business on their own. All these are geared towards reducing unemployment and achieving food security. The empowerment centres are a new project of NALDA.”

Ikonne pointed out that each state in Nigeria would benefit from the scheme, and called on state governments to utilise the scheme as a means to create jobs in their states.

“Currently, we have partnerships with some individual farmers that have provided their farmlands and space for us to activate the empowerment centres.

“Like in Osun State, we have a farmer whose farm is in good shape and up and running. All NALDA needs to do is to upgrade it to the level of being an empowerment centre.

“We also have a farm in Nasarawa State. A private farmer also made available his farmland. That is also 80 to 90 per cent ready for commissioning,” the NALDA boss stated.

He said empowerment centres would have a fishery, poultry, animal husbandry and raffia grass field.

“The importance of these agriculture empowerment centres is to create job opportunities and also encourage young Nigerians to go into agriculture.

“We will be more delighted to have it done with corporate organisations or individuals so that it will be anchored around them and the farm will be managed by them while we empower the youths from the proceeds that come from there,” he stated.

Ikonne further explained that the farmers would be recruited in trenches, saying, “We are looking at 250,000 young Nigerians across the country, to empower them in different fields.in the first phase. It is going to be a continuous phase.”

Speaking after inaugurating NALDA’s rural housing scheme, Zulum commended the agency for choosing Borno to execute such projects, noting that it would contribute to the economic development of the state.

“Let me use this opportunity to commend the hardworking executive secretary of NALDA for all his initiatives that are geared towards creating employment and means of livelihood for the people,”
Zulum stated.

The governor told his guest that he was ready to provide land for investors interested in agriculture, as the initiative would assist the Internally Displaced Persons in Borno who had been battered by bandits and terrorists over the years.

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