Inside NALDA’s Yobe farm estate with 850 crates of eggs daily production capacity
The National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) is establishing farm estates across the country following the mandate of President Muhammadu Buhari. In Yobe State, NALDA completed an integrated farm estate that engages 30 youth directly in poultry farming. COLLINS NNABUIFE who was at the commissioning of the project in Gasamu, Yobe State brings excerpts.
THE Senate President, Senator Ahmed Lawan on 25th September, commissioned a 20 hectare integrated farm estate constructed by the National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) in Gasamu Yobe state.
This is the second farm estate that has been commissioned by NALDA since it was resuscitated by President Muhammadu Buhari last year.
This is another effort of the government towards achieving self-sufficiency in food production, through revitalising existing agricultural projects and programmes.
NALDA has farm estates across the country which were abandoned for years since the program was scrapped in 2002. Some of these farm estates have been overgrown by bushes, some were illegally occupied and the structures misused.
General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd), the then Military Head of State, established NALDA through Decree No. 92 of 1992 to execute a programme that would address the problem of low level of utilisation of abundant farmland and rural labour resources as well as the high cost of land development.
After 10 years into its existence, the Authority was scrapped by former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration.
However, in June 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari resuscitated NALDA, amended the Act establishing it through the National Assembly to deliver on its mandate of developing the rural communities through agriculture.
Prince Paul Ikonne was appointed Executive Secretary of the Authority by the President with the mandate to recover all its lands and farm estates across the country.
About Yobe Farm Estate
The farm estate which is located at Gasamu, Jakusko local government in Yobe State, houses 10 poultry pens that contain 30,000 birds and an incubation centre is sitting on 20 hectares of land, and is expected to produce about 250,000 noilers annually for sales.
It is expected that the farm estate generates N8.160 million monthly from sales of day-old chicks alone.
The farm estate has 30 youth who are the direct beneficiaries, to manage the birds in a one person for 1000 birds arrangement.
The Executive Secretary of NALDA, Prince Paul Ikonne,while speaking at the commissioning, said President Muhammadu Buhari mandated NALDA to make agriculture attractive for our youth to produce what we eat and for Nigerians to eat what we produce.
He therefore said “we are here today for the commissioning of this 30,000 bird capacity farm estate which is specially made to produce noilers.
The farm estate is like a reproduction centre that will be producing locally improved birds which will be distributed across the country in order to encourage our local breeds and maintain our old stocks”.
Prince Ikonne said the farm estate which has already commenced production is expected to generate N1.1 million daily from sales of eggs alone and N400 million annually for the farmers.
“This farm has a capacity of generating 850 crates of eggs daily and generating N1.1 million daily from the sales of the eggs only.
“And these eggs will also be incubated as we have an incubation centre here in order to produce day-old chicks that will be sent to other poultry houses across the country. Annually, we are expecting to have not less than N400 million generated from this farm”, Prince Ikonne noted.
He explained that the incubation centre will produce the parent stock which will lay eggs for the production of day old noilers for sales, with the production capacity of 250,000 annually.
The 30,000 birds are specifically used for egg and meat production and would be managed by the 30 benefiting farmers.
“The youths from this immediate community are the first set of beneficiaries which we believe will engage them meaningfully as they will be making their money from this centre.
“We believe that it will reduce unemployment and this community has been enjoying peaceful coexistence within themselves, that this farm will increase that peace within them.
“NALDA integrated farm estates are meant to empower the community, to develop the land within the community, empower the youth, create employment and reduce hunger in our land”, Ikonne added.
On the sustainability of the farm estate, the NALDA boss said that the Authority has engaged Prime Farm to manage the farm estate, while Jaiz Bank and other banks will be its financial partners.
“The firm that will manage this farm (Prime Farm) are already on ground, and we work with Jaiz bank and other banks as our bankers in order to make sure that this project is sustained”, Ikonne said.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mahammed Abubakar, said the project is a fulfilment of the aspiration and promise of President Buhari.
The Minister who was represented by the Executive Secretary of Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), Professor Garba Sharubutu assured the Senate President of the commitment of the Ministry to partner him and NALDA in order to improve the livelihood of rural communities.
“As a ministry, we challenge the state government, the local government, the traditional rulers to ensure that this project is not abandoned, that this project should be protected”, the Minister added.
The Minister commended President Buhari for his support to the agricultural sector which he said is yielding results across the country. He said the ministry will continue to drive agricultural revolution with the support of the President.
The Emir of Bade, HRH Abubakar Suleiman, whose Emirate extended to the Gasamu community, commended NALDA, Senator Lawan and the State government for bringing the farm estate to the community.
“I lack words to appreciate the Senate President and NALDA. We thank you, we thank the President of Nigeria, we thank the Yobe state government for doing everything to us, like Oliver Twist, we always ask for more”, he said.
The royal father assured that the project will not fail. He said this is not the only project NALDA is doing in his Emirate, “there are agricultural projects that NALDA is also pursuing”, he noted.
“We assure you that you will never regret what you have done, on behalf of each and every one that is in this community we thank you very much for choosing this place to start this project”, the Emir added.
The President of the Senate, Senator Lawan who incidentally is representing Gasamu as the Red Chambers, while commissioning the farm estate, said it will produce chicks for sales and distribution across the country.
Senator Lawan said it means the birds are special, and anyone who wants that type of chicks will get it from the farm.
He said with the presence of the farm, there will be a lot of trading and marketing between Gasamu and all parts of the country.
The Senate President expressed optimism that the farm estate will project the name of the community, and cause the establishment of poultries around the local government and the state.
“Because of this project, Gasamu will be prominently shown in the Nigerian map, and this is something that is very important to us as a community.
“That means we are going to have poultry farms coming up across this zone, particularly in Jakusko local government.
“So, I believe that very soon, we will see an increase in the number of poultry farms in this particular zone. This is one of the immediate benefits and I will urge our people not to lose this opportunity”, he noted.
While commending President Buhari for the approval of the project, Senator Lawan appealed to NALDA to increase the production capacity of the poultry, stating that the 250,000 chicks annually may not be enough for the community alone.
“I want to appeal to NALDA that we want the capacity to grow beyond 250,000 chicks per annum, because I want to assure you that our people will patronise this, they will exhaust the 250,000 chicks and they will need more.
“Presently 30 youths will be engaged to manage the farm, this is only the direct employment, if you look at the indirect opportunities when you establish poultry farms across this zone, you would have put in many youths to manage these farms”, Senator Lawan added.
The Governor of Yobe State, Mai-Mala Buni who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government Baba Wali, said the project is the first of its kind in the state.
Governor Buni urged NALDA and the beneficiaries to ensure the success of the centre in line with the state’s objective of introducing new ideas for effective production.
“I commend NALDA for establishing the centre which I consider a remarkable complementary effort of the present administration towards revitalization of agriculture for prosperity and a stronger nation.
“I want to use this opportunity to tell you that we are ready to cooperate with NALDA to ensure that this project sustained”, the governor added.
After its resuscitation, NALDA kick-started its activities with an animal husbandry programme, which included rabbitry and goat rearing in some pilot states.
The Authority identified and recovered NALDA farm estates in Gombe, Borno, Adamawa, Taraba, Niger, Kebbi, Oyo, Imo, Katsina, Lagos, Ekiti, Delta, Bauchi, Yobe, Kaduna, Benue, Kogi, Osun, Anambra, Akwa Ibom and Abia States.
Farmers were trained on dry season farming of which they were not used to. NALDA provided all the farmers required for farming ranging from tractors
In order to achieve food security under the National Young Farmers’ Scheme (NYFS), which the President launched in November 2020, NALDA introduced the training and empowering of young graduates through the initiative of Soil Doctors and Extension Service Providers.
NALDA is targeting to train and empower 30,000 soil Doctors which had commenced and over 500 Soil Doctors been trained in Borno and Jigawa States.
The essence is to equip young graduates with agriculture or science backgrounds with the knowledge of extension services, which include soil testing and analysis and they are being given soil-testing kits in order for them to earn a living while ensuring that farmers are being equipped with best agricultural practices for greater output.
NALDA also embarked on establishing fish villages to engage rural women in fish production and packaging in some pilot States: Borno and Abia states.