The National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) to establish 52 hectares of rice farm in Ebonyi.
The Executive Secretary of NALDA, Prince Paul Ikonne, who made this known in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja, said the development was to support the Federal Government’s food security drive.
He said the rice farm would be established on a 52 hectares land owned by the NYSC in Ezillo, Ishielu Local Government Area of the state, while NALDA would provide inputs and the technical know-how to develop the farm.
Ikonne said NALDA was tapping into the vast resources that the NYSC has across the country to provide sufficient food for Nigerians and engage the Corps members to be more productive.
He said that the rice was the first step among many others to be initiated by NALDA as it would also establish an Integrated Farm Estate in partnership with the Corps in the nearest future so that NYSC could produce its own food and also sell to generate income.
“Nigeria is in dare need of creating job opportunities and this collaboration will contribute to the country’s GDP because when there are idle youths, you will have youth restiveness but when they are engaged you will see effectiveness
“Our visit here today is to seal our understanding that we already have going forward,” he said.
According to him, the first of the estates will be commissioned in Katsina State, North West Nigeria by the end of July 2021.
On the training of Corps members to be soil Doctors, Ikonne said the first phase of the training was successful and NALDA was ready and willing to train more Corps members.
Also, the Director-General of the NYSC, Brig.-General Shuaibu Ibrahim described NYSC’s human capital development as huge and there was the need to tap into the potential to contribute meaningfully to national development.
Ibrahim said that the Corps members were skilful and ready to work if given the necessary support.
“The Corps members are knowledgeable and they are very skillful and committed and all that they want is just to give them the support that they and the sky is their limit.
Ibrahim said that he had been encouraging Corps members with background in agribusiness at every given opportunity to key into NALDA’s Young Farmers Scheme.
He said that some Corps members who had benefited from some empowerment schemes were doing very well on their own, “managing their own businesses in their state of service comfortably without any form of harassments for the locals.’’
He said that the Corps members were ready to commence work on the farm immediately by deploying tractors to site for land clearing, while commending the NALDA boss “for the good work he is doing’’.