President Muhammadu Buhari has launched the National Young Farmers Scheme designed by the National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) to engage 1,000 youths from each of the country’s 774 local council areas in agriculture.
According to Femi Adesina, media adviser to the president, during the program’s launch at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Buhari reaffirmed agriculture as the bedrock of the Nigerian economy, describing it as the largest contributor to the nation’s gross domestic product.
NALDA is mandated to provide farmers with technical support and subsidies in order to mechanize farming operations in the country’s farm lands. The body is also tasked with the responsibility of acquiring, surveying and parceling out plots to farmers so they may harness the vast potential of Nigeria’s land assets.
Adesina quoted Buhari as saying:
“We will do more to expand, modernize and revolutionize our agriculture, which is our most important asset. I have directed that all NALDA’s abandoned farm estates be retrieved to enable thousands of our young men and women to be engaged in farming.
“By virtue of my passion and desire for agriculture and also as a farmer myself, I am directly supervising NALDA as an authority under the Presidency. This Administration will be achieving agricultural mechanization through this scheme and I am confident that Nigeria under my watch, we will achieve food security in producing most of what we eat.”
Paul Ikonne, executive secretary and chief executive officer of NALDA, noted that the discovery of oil in the country reduced the growth of agriculture and increased poverty in rural communities. He went on to say that the resuscitation of NALDA would assist in reducing unemployment in the country, especially among the youth.