NALDA to set up integrated farm estate on 1,200 hectares in Ekiti

The National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) has commenced the process of establishing an integrated farm estate on its 1,200 hectares of land which it recovered and reactivated in Ekiti State.

The farm estate located in Okeako/Irele Ekiti in Ikole Local Government Area of the state had been in existence for over 20 years and owned by NALDA, has existing 50 hectares of Cashew farm, storage and a processing facility that would be reactivated and upgraded.

In a meeting with NALDA and farmers who have been farming on the land over the years, the traditional ruler of the community, His Royal Highness, Oba Emmanuel Omopariola the Alajowa of Ijowa, Ijowa Ekiti while welcoming NALDA back to the community highlighted insecurity as one of the major problem facing the farmers in the community.

He said farmers in the area were unable to recoup incomes invested on their farms because herders go into their farms with cattle that eat up crops already matured for harvest, a situation he said has made life unbearable for the farmers.

“At present, what we facing is the question of security, the insecurity is so enormous that nobody around can solve it for us, earlier this year, our cashews produced very well but at the end of the day farmers ended up not having any form of financial benefits as the herders came at night with their cattle that ate up the matured fruits.

“This is the greatest problem we are facing, we cannot plant cassava any longer, we can’t plant maize, we can’t plant yam, we have to go to the market at Ikole to buy these things at an expensive rate and we can’t even guarantee the quality of what we are buying,” he said.

A farmer, Mr Alaba Sunday appealed to the NALDA Boss to make farming implements and inputs available for the farmers in order for them to maximize the opportunity NALDA has availed them.

“Some of us are graduates and what we need is just government support, like providing herbicides and some other pieces of equipment we are not lazy, help us so that we produce and fend for ourselves, our fathers were farmers and used proceeds from farms to see us through school.”

The Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of NALDA Prince Paul Ikonne who noted their fears and concerns assured the farmers that the authority is back and better and will work assiduously to ensure that the farmers get all they need to farm and produce, beginning with access road into the farm.

“We are here to make sure that this abandoned estate comes back to life, the farm products that you use to take out, you will still take them out to sell but this time it will be fully processed because whatever we going to produce on this farm will also be processed, we will put processing plant too so that we can add value to what we produce, this will also help your youth be engaged because agriculture is the way to go,” Prince Ikonne said.

Addressing the issue of insecurity and herders crises Prince Ikonne said “the solution is, how do we come together to do our businesses so that it would benefit all of us? That is what NALDA would do, I believe that the herders want their cow to be healthy and fattened so they can sell and make a profit, what this means is that they also want a conducive environment to do their business.

“So NALDA is going to engage them and the communities, we will create an avenue where they can feed their cattle so that we all can live in peace. Based on that we are doing what we call integrated farming, they can buy from us, while we also can buy from them and the farm can benefit also through the cattle’s dung serving as manure.”

Speaking when visited by the NALDA boss, the Governor of Ekiti State Dr Kayode Fayemi said agriculture in the state is not on a part-time basis but a way of life and anything that needs to be done to accelerate development in the sector is a welcome development.

“Currently we have about three rice mills that are coming on in Ekiti, all of this will not really bring to bear the quality and capacity of our people if we don’t have enough farmers growing, somebody has to feed the mills, either it’s Cassava or rice we must produce in order for the mills to be active and whatever you can do to assist us just as you have promised we will certainly be full of gratitude.

“We all know how dear agriculture is to Mr President, at every opportunity he would tell us that we must grow what we eat and eat what we grow and that is also our passion in this state,” he added.

Responding, Prince Ikonne said NALDA is in Ekiti state to carry out President Muhammadu Buhari’s instructions which are for NALDA to recover and reactivate its abandoned farm estates across the country and utilise it for agriculture to benefit youths in the grassroots.

“Having made the funds available for NALDA to use, we will start immediately to reactivate the farm, we will start with road infrastructure which is about 4.5 kilometres and then clear the remaining lands in the areas that have not been cleared, we will take it in phases and I’m very much sure that we are going to farm there this wet season as NALDA will be providing the tractors for the land clearing,” he added.

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NALDA to set up integrated farm estate on 1,200 hectares in Ekiti

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