The National Land Development Authority, NALDA has disclosed the commencement of its wet season harvest on its Mechanised Farms across the country.
This development was to boost food production, the nation’s grain supply, rice and maize, which would in turn have a positive effect on the value chains, boost poultry feed, and other household goods, encourage youth in agriculture, and encourage best agronomic practices for better yields.
The Agency has achieved success in both farms built and run solely by the agency and those run in collaboration with private and public institutions across the six geopolitical zones.
Although the overall land area was 500 hectares, 50 hectares were cultivated due to a 15-day rain delay and a late start of activities.
The Bauchi State Coordinator for NALDA, Mr. Jalaludeen Mu’Azu while speaking with Journalists said the NALDA farm would boost significant production in the area because no farms in the state possessed such machinery.
Mr. Mu’azu noted that at the harvest site, the complete farm operation was entirely mechanized, from harrowing to planting to spraying fertilizer with a 400-litre capacity boom sprayer and machinery for weeding and harvesting.
In his words: “ As a young man working in a mechanized farm, I feel very happy. For you to see a mechanized farm that uses only machines for everything, you have to look very far, which is very rare around us here and I see a very bright future because you will be able to cover a very wide area of land within a very short period.”
“Harvesting and bagging have also begun on the NALDA-cultivated 150-hectare rice farm in Gboko, Benue State, with two combined harvesters, tractors, and other machines for bagging chores, the farm operations are totally automated.
He revealed that NALDA expects to harvest large metric tonnes of paddy rice from the farm, as what has already been harvested indicated.
Also speaking, NALDA state coordinator, Asom William stated that the farm recorded success due to the deployment of farm equipment adding that it has also drawn the willingness of youth to join the volunteer workforce.
With essential equipment, he stated that the stage is set for more expansion in the coming cropping season, including diversification into dry season production.
Acccirding to him, with maize grown on 85 hectares of land in the first season, continued harvesting has revealed a significant potential for over 100 metric tonnes of maize.
“Majority of what we are doing here is mechanized, but we have also engaged approximately 50 women who will help assemble maize in areas where we may face obstacles with the machines. We have also involved about 100 youths from the beginning of field preparation until harvest depending on the operations,” he said.
Mr. Manta said the intention of the state is to extend more production in the upcoming season, possibly covering 400 hectares if the headquarters allows.
He also indicated that plans are also in the pipeline to commence 100 hectares of dry season farming in a different location in the state.
The farm’s manager, Mustapha Ndadama, described his time working on the farm as a “very nice experience so far.”
“The most important aspect of it is innovation. You can see every activity done with machines, only a few places where we had challenges that we engage people to do manually.
“The new innovations brought to us in Niger helped us to boost harvest, and you can see farmers around coming because they’re seeing something they have not seen before,” he said.
Meanwhile, the farms with complete Mechanisation are located in Kwakwuti, Paikoro Local Government in Niger State, Kokona Local Government of Nasarawa State, Gboko Local Government of Benue state North Central Nigeria and Galambi in Bauchi Local Government of Bauchi state in North East Nigeria.
Each of these farms boasts of advanced equipment including bulldozers, tractors, planters, threshers, winnowers, combined harvesters, maize harvesters, applicators, maize shellers and cleaners and sealing/bagging machines.”