President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed optimism that Nigerian youths will take on mechanized farming with the launch of the National Young Farmers Scheme.
The President while launching the scheme on Tuesday at the Aso Rock Villa in Abuja, disclosed that the scheme will be managed by the revamped National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA).
Buhari noted that the scheme is part of efforts by his administration to expand and modernize agriculture in Nigeria, and also increase opportunities for youth participation.
The scheme is expected to engage Nigerian youths in agricultural ventures, provide job opportunities for them and grow the country’s economy.
He noted that he has “directed that all NALDA’s abandoned farm estates be retrieved to enable thousands of our young men and women to be engaged in modern, mechanized farming,” adding that “I am confident that, under my watch, Nigeria will achieve food security; we will produce most of what we eat.”
A statement issued by presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina quoted Buhari to have said; “We will do more to expand, modernize and revolutionize our agriculture, which is our most important asset.
Today I flagged off the National Young Farmers’ Scheme, designed by the newly-revived National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA), as part of our efforts to expand and modernize agriculture in Nigeria, and also increase opportunities for youth participation.
— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) November 10, 2020
“I have directed that all NALDA’s abandoned farm estates be retrieved to enable thousands of our young men and women to be engaged in farming.
“This Administration will be achieving agricultural mechanization through this scheme and I am confident that Nigeria under my watch, we will achieve food security in producing most of what we eat. In good harvest years we may even export our surpluses and earn foreign exchange.’’
The President added that: “By virtue of my passion and desire for agriculture and also as a farmer myself, I am directly supervising NALDA as an authority under the Presidency.
“I am asking the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and State Governments to give full cooperation to NALDA in its activities. With the success of Anchor Borrowers programme spearheaded by the Central Bank of Nigeria and new programmes to revive cotton, palm products and cocoa, the next few years will see a vast difference in our agricultural performance.’’
The President noted that it is his firm belief that the scheme will take in more Nigerian youths, provide job opportunities and contribute to the nation’s agricultural sector and the entire economy.
“I am told that, so far, 4,333 families have benefited from this scheme and it is expected that many more individuals and families will benefit as the programme is rolled out.
“I now flag off the National Young Farmers’ Scheme. It is my expectation that the Scheme will take in young Nigerians, graduates and non-graduates alike, and be part of this Government’s effort to reduce unemployment and contribute to the regeneration of agriculture and our economy.’’
The Executive Secretary/CEO of NALDA, Mr Paul Ikonne, lamented that oil discovery in Nigeria shifted attention away from the enormous potential the country has in agriculture, but with the resuscitation of NALDA after close to 20 years of abandonment, Nigeria can regain its lost fame and prominence in agriculture.
He added that the focus by NALDA is to engage 1,000 farmers from each of the 774 Local Government Areas, thereby creating 774,000, direct employment annually.
Source: Naija News