The National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA), has trained 269 soil doctors and agriculture extension workers on soil sample collection and testing and extension services in Borno State.
NALDA had earlier made known its readiness to train over 30,000 youths as soil doctors across all of the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The trainees include graduates with science-related educational backgrounds and corps members, were awarded certificates and also given test kits to facilitate their field operations in Maiduguri.
The Executive Secretary of NALDA, Prince Paul Ikonne, speaking at the occasion, said the programme is geared towards introducing young people into the scientific method of farming for better crop yields and food security.
He said the entry of the trainees into the Nigerian agricultural system will address issues associated with soil testing and food quality.
According to him, “It is expected that the injection of soil doctors and extension service providers into the Nigerian agricultural system will correct the anomalies of non-soil testing so that farming becomes healthy for the environment, humanity and quality food production.
The Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Zulum, while commending NALDA for giving the state the opportunity as it was the first time the head of any agency would approach him with such intervention, said no other state has Borno’s agriculture potentials
His words: “It is the first in the history of my administration that a Chief Executive of a Federal Agency called and told me, Mr Governor, I am in receipt of funding from the federal government, come so that we can work together.”
“No other state has Borno’s agriculture potentials and water is not a limiting factor as irrigation engineers are being continually called upon to design structures that could handle the natural supply of water.
“This effort by NALDA and her development partners by training and providing well-designed soil testing kits to 1,000 youths shall provide an effective and adequate number of experts on soil, to our farmers in time, for Borno to engage in scientific cultivation which should be anchored on sustainable development,” Zulum said.
On his part, Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, who was at the event with other members of the National Assembly, said the choice of Borno to kickstart the training is very apt and commended the state government for taking advantage of the opportunity offered through the programme by engaging with NALDA on the project.
Lawan said “Borno state alone can feed Nigeria, I know for certain. I was part of this state before Yobe was excised and I know the Chad Basin’s projects and programmes alone could produce enough food for this country, so the choice of Borno state for this particular project is apt and in fact in the right direction and the right thing to do.
“The soil doctors are going to be real doctors for the soil, our practice has been to apply fertilizers without knowing what type of fertilizers are required or needed on our farms, with the soil doctors we should have a clear analysis of what we need in terms of fertilizers and other necessary inputs into pot soil.”
NALDA trains extension workers