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Dry season wheat farming is currently ongoing in five states in a bid to increase the country’s wheat production and reduce its imports, the Federal Government has said.
It also stated that 1,500 farmers had been deployed on the farmlands, adding that land preparation in the states and the provision of agricultural input were handled by the government.
Speaking on behalf of the Federal Government in an interview with our correspondent on Friday in Abuja, the Executive Secretary, National Agricultural Lands Development Authority, Paul Ikonne, said, “Currently, we are doing 500 hectares of wheat production in this period of dry season farming.
“We have three farmers per hectare and you can multiply that by 500. It is going on in five different states and they include Gombe, Jigawa, Adamawa, Taraba and Bauchi. In Gombe State, we have two farms and planting is going on as we speak.”
On the contributions by the states, he said, “Some of the communities provided the land and NALDA supported them with land preparation. We have constructed an access road to the farm in Bauchi, where the community provided the land and farmers.
“We, of course, supported them with input such as herbicides and land preparation. The 500 hectares are fully for wheat production. In the last dry season farming, we had 100 hectares, fully achieved from Gombe State and the farmers realised N40m from that project.”
Ikonne stated that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had directed NALDA to ensure that it provided the required support for farmers in rural communities, adding that the expansion in wheat farming, among others, were some of the achievements of the agency.
Buhari had earlier directed NALDA to procure additional five spraying aircraft for deployment across five geopolitical zones to boost food production.
He gave the order in Abuja while showcasing the achievements of NALDA on Thursday. The agency currently has only one spraying aircraft.
The President, who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said he reinstated the moribund agency to achieve food security while creating jobs in the sector as additional means of earning foreign revenue besides oil.
He said, “Again, I charged the chief executive secretary of NALDA and his team to pursue this mandate vigorously without any discrimination, fear, or favour being an agency under the Presidency. Today, I thank the executive secretary of NALDA and his team for making these dreams a reality.
“The equipment you are seeing here today is part of the ones already procured by NALDA. In addition to this spraying aircraft, I am directing the executive secretary of NALDA to procure additional five aircraft to have each geopolitical zone covered.
“The government has procured various equipment for agricultural mechanisation such as tractors, combined harvesters, pumping machines, surveillance and spraying drones, etc. We will keep procuring land preparation equipment until we have enough.”
In terms of human capital, he said several professionals in different fields of agriculture had been trained and equipped to offer services in the needed areas.