The Ogun State government has been nominated to benefit from three federal government’s agricultural pilot programmes amid efforts to further position the state as one of the major food producers in the country, an official has said.
This development was disclosed by the executive secretary, National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA), Paul Ikonne, when he led the management of the Authority to the office of the state governor in Abeokuta on Wednesday.
Mr Ikonne said that Ogun will benefit from the Integrated Farm Estate, Garri Packaging Plant, a training programme on soil testing and extension services for 200 young graduates with science and agriculture-related degrees.
“We are running programmes and projects which Ogun State has been slated to be one of the pilot states. NALDA’s Integrated Farm Estate is going to be cited in Ogun State in the three senatorial districts of the state. The Integrated Farm Estate is a concept that takes in everything from production to processing, packaging, and marketing, we also have residential areas for farmers inside the integrated Farm Estate,” Mr Ikonne said.
He said, “Knowing that Ogun has the highest capacity in cassava production, our Garri Packaging Plant will be located in the state, thereby NALDA will be the off-taker from the farmers, we process it, package it accordingly and move it into the market.”
Based on the president’s directive on soil testing and extension services, Mr Ikonne said they were training young Nigerians, and that Ogun State is expected to nominate 200 people in the first phase.
“Ogun is one of the states in the pilot stage of this programme, it will nominate young graduates that have agric or science-related degrees that will undertake this intensive two-week training,” he said.
Explaining further, the official said the state government nominees will be empowered by NALDA with soil test kits and implements to collect soil samples after the training and they will begin to generate money for themselves, thereby making a living from the programme.
Mr Ikonne disclosed that NALDA would not sit back and watch the state improve the worth of agriculture alone, and that they would also be re-activating the 700 hectares of land at Joga-Orile immediately, with the hope that the reactivation will increase the status of the state in food production.
In his response, Ogun governor, Dapo Abiodun, attributed the success of his administration’s agriculture project to the support of President Muhammad Buhari-led government.
He said his administration holds agriculture as a “triple barrel pillar” that allows the state to feed its people, create employment, as well as generate revenue for the state.
Also, Mr Abiodun noted that his administration recently started the construction of its international cargo airport to boost the agric sector.
He said the state also won a bid to become a special agric processing zone, with the state using the advantage of the cargo airport that seats on 5,000 hectares of land to its advantage.
He assured NALDA of the administration’s support, especially with the provision of land for the purpose of the Integrated Farm Estate.
The governor submitted that his administration would also set up a team to look at ways of starting the Garri Packaging Plant in quick time and ensure that the youths and graduates benefit from the training programme on soil testing and extension services.
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