On Saturday, the Federal Government declared the commencement of 120 housing units and an empowerment center for farmers in Borno State.
The National Agricultural Land Development Authority conveyed this announcement, emphasizing its role in poverty reduction and the enhancement of food production in Nigeria.
Situated in Dustman Village, Zawiya, Borno State, the facilities include a clinic, a school for farmers’ children, a worship center, 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.
The beneficiaries, hailing from the Internally Displaced Persons camp in the state, were specified as recipients of the Federal Government’s initiative.
NALDA, a Federal Government agency with the mission to establish integrated farm estates nationwide, transforming idle land into productive assets, and enhancing agricultural output while empowering youths and women.
Among its responsibilities are conducting land surveys, allocating land for agricultural purposes, ensuring fair distribution, and promoting responsible land use.
In Maiduguri, the state capital, the Executive Secretary of NALDA, Paul Ikonne, inaugurated the housing units alongside Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum, emphasizing on Saturday that the initiative aims to encourage young Nigerians to engage in 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 centers 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 centers.
“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 center.
“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.