All is now set for the establishment of National Agricultural Land Development Authority’s (NALDA) Integrated Farm Estate in Kogi State, North Central Nigeria.
It is aimed at improving the livestock sub-sector, reducing farmers’/herders’ clashes in the country and creating job opportunities for about three thousand youths (3000) in the host community.
The Farm Estate would be located on seven (700) hundred hectares of land in Okwuha Obayin Village – in the Ajaokuta Local Government Area of the state – donated to NALDA by the state.
The farm would focus mainly on livestock (cattle, goat, sheep and poultry) and pasture production; it would also have a cropping area with an irrigation farming system to enable all year round food production, particularly maize, as the farm has natural water sources in its path.
And like previous NALDA farm estates, the facility would have social amenities such as a school, clinic (including veterinary), access roads, residential areas, boreholes, a meat processing area and a meat market.
The Farm Estate would also create about three thousand direct and indirect jobs for over three thousand youth and women of the host community.
With Kogi state bordering about ten states in the South-South, South-East, South-Western and the northern part of the country, the NALDA Integrated Farm Estate would serve as a bridge and safe haven for pastoralists relocating from these zones thereby reducing farmers’/herders’ clashes.
In an interactive meeting with the Chief of Staff to the State Governor, the Local government Chairman, village head and about twelve (12) Land owners who are willingly donating the land during a visit to the land, the Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of NALDA Prince Paul Ikonne reassured the host community that the land would be put to use for their benefit and for the benefit of their community.
“These families that are donating the lands, the Federal Government is developing the land for you, what we are bringing belongs to you and what it means is that all the youth and women within your village would be engaged in this place,” he added.
“It is very simple, it is called Integrated Farm estate, where you will have both school, clinic, crop section, processing section, animal husbandry sections and then we would also have a mini market, residential area and this place would be purely known for meat processing, cow and goat rearing.”
Prince Ikonne noted that the farm is mapped out in such a way that there would be no friction between farmers and herders as the pasture area on the farm would cater for the feed needs of the animals on the farm and also be exported to other parts of the country.
“There would be no issues with herdsmen and farmers because the farm would be well secured, we would have area for pasture production and not just planting it for grass but we would be able to palate it and then take to other parts of the country because of the size of the land you are donating. So, your community is going to host other communities and it is a big blessing.”
Ikonne while assuring the community of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to easing poverty in the country, said the President intends to make millionaires out of Nigerian youths in the rural areas through agriculture and Okwuha Obayin village is blessed to be part of the programme.
He added that the land clearing would commence immediately and the first section of the farm estate would be commissioned in December 2021.
Visit To Kogi Governor
Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary and his team paid a courtesy call to the Kogi state Governor, Mr. Yahaya Bello before proceeding to inspect the land.
Governor Yahaya Bello while receiving the NALDA team said his government has been able to stabilize and sustain peace and security in the state, noting that herders fleeing different parts of the country migrate to the state and leave peacefully with the locals.
“Here, we have made available 700 hectares of land in just one local government to take care of the first phase of this programme here.”
“We as a state have been able to stabilize security, peace and tranquility that is much needed in Nigeria today and we have been able to sustain it, a situation where almost all the herders that are having issues at one point or the other in the southern part of the country would migrate to Kogi state and mingling, leaving and cohabiting with our farmers without conflicts means it takes a lot from us as a state.”
He said the project would further enhance the relationship between the locals and migrants into the state since it would create an enabling environment for everyone to cohabit peacefully.
According to the governor, Kogi state serves as a shock absorber for the country as it is always ready to receive people from every part of Nigeria in crisis situations and that Integrated Farm Estates in all three Senatorial zones would help cushion the effects of the shock.
While commending President Muhammadu Buhari and NALDA Governor Yahaya Bello said Kogi would be a model that would be copied by other states in the country, adding that the host community is ready to welcome and receive NALDA.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s had directed NALDA to establish farm estates in all one hundred and nine (109) senatorial zones in the country to empower and develop rural Nigeria through agriculture.
NALDA has since begun establishing farm estates in different parts of the country with one already commissioned in Katsina state.