The National Agricultural Land Development Authority, NALDA, Monday, disclosed of engaging young people in mechanized agriculture and modern technology in farming.
This was made known by the Executive Secretary, NALDA, Paul Ikonne, during a working visit to Katsina State, ahead of the take-off of the programne.
According to Ikonne in the pilot phase of the programme 14 states have been selected, which 100 youth in three Local Government Areas each will be trained in various agricultural value chains and production.
He also explained that the 14 pilot states are from the six geo-political zones of the country, and subsequently more states will come on board in other phases of the programme in order to tap the agricultural resources and potential across the country for positive economic impact.
He said: “The essence of the programme is to engage as many Nigerian youths as possible by giving them employment and empowering them with skills and tools to handle the business aspect of farming.
“This will enable farmers to get value for their produce, and the global economic trend warrants that we call on everybody to go back to farm.
“The government of president Muhammadu Buhari has assured Nigerians that farming will be fully mechanized to make it more attractive and more profitable, and that is what NALDA is driving.”
He also stated that his agency will engage various institutions, corporate organizations, state governments, groups and individuals in order to have access to their lands through leasing.
“In this project, we will engage institutions, corporate bodies, governments, and individuals to lease their land that is not in use so that we could put it to use in a way that will contribute to economic productivity and youth employment”, he said.
Meanwhile, at the Governor of Katsina State, Rt Hon Aminu Bello Masari, promised that Katsina State Government will provide agricultural land for NALDA for the purpose of training and engaging youths under the programme.
Masari said, “80 per cent of our people are farmers and we have projected that our engagement with NALDA will create more jobs for our people while also boosting the rural economy.
“I believe this approach is a major departure from what NALDA used to do, this is a more practical approach and it will impact directly on the rural and national economy.”
Also, the NALDA delegation visited the Emir of Katsina, Alhaji AbdulMumini Kabir Usman, in his palace, where the Emir also pledged support for the programme and said his people will lease uncultivated lands to NALDA in order to engage young people and boost the local economy as well.
He also called on the Federal Government to do more in the fight against armed banditry which has obviously paralysed farming and commercial activities in some LGAs in central and southern parts of the state.
The paramount ruler also pointed out the challenge of desertification which has devastated farmlands and part of the Sahel region of the country and called on relevant government ministries, departments, and agencies at the state and federal levels to do the needful before it gets out of control.Click To Claim Your Point