The National Agricultural and Land Development Agency (NALDA) has received approval from the federal government to employ 30,000 science and agriculture graduates as soil doctors across Nigeria’s 36 states and Abuja, assisting in soil testing, extension services and other responsibilities.
NALDA Executive Secretary Paul Ikonne, while briefing journalists in Abuja on the agency’s various programs, said the NALDA plans to train the graduates intensively for two weeks on soil sampling and testing, after which they will be fully engaged as employees.
The main directive of the program is to produce young soil specialists capable of recommending adequate fertilizers for particular crops through proper soil evaluation and nutrient identification.
According to Ikonne, the agency has commenced employment activities and will carry them out in collaboration with the Nigerian Institute of Soil Science and state governments. He added that it is essential to understand soil requirements in order to attain food security in the country.
“We cannot achieve food security without understanding our soil, without getting our farmers to know what the soil requires.
“Based on that, Mr President has directed and given the approval, under the National Young Farmers Scheme to engage over 30,000 young Nigerians who are graduates and have a background in agriculture or sciences,” Ikonne noted.
He further explained that after training, the NALDA will equip the newly hired graduates with soil test kits to practice and transmit any field information they collect to the agency’s national database as they render services to farmers at a very subsidized rate. Services will cost as little as N500 per soil sample collected and analyzed.