The National Agricultural Lands Development Authority (NALDA) said it has sent 200 young farmers for capacity building on crop production and animal husbandry to Israel and Morocco.
This is part of the continuation of the National Young Farmers Scheme, (NYFS) programme that President Muhammadu Buhari flagged off some months ago.
Speaking during the official handing over of travel documents to the beneficiaries in Abuja, the Executive Secretary, NALDA, Prince Paul Ikonne, explained that it is a continuation of the NYFS programme that President Buhari flagged off sometime ago.
He said the programme assisted Nigeria in terms of food availability during the emergence of the novel Covid-19 pandemic, which prevented Nigeria from begging food from other countries
The NALDA scribe said the aim is also to make agriculture more attractive to the youths as the training will expose and equip them on modern agriculture and agribusiness, which will lead to massive food production for Nigerians and for more exportation of food.
Ikonne further said sending the 200 young farmers to Israel and Morocco is part of the new programme called ‘Aggressive Food Production’ in collaboration with the Ministry of Education.
He also said that the youths who are drawn from the 36 states of the federation will be there for six days while they undergo intensive training on greenhouse farming and animal husbandry, explaining that Israel and Morocco were chosen because they have the expertise in these areas.
“We are running a programme we call ‘Aggressive Food Production’ and this we are doing in collaboration with the Ministry of Education as the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, is providing us with land from the universities for this.
“So, we are sending them to countries that we know have string expertise on what we are doing, Israel and Morocco. This is to enhance their knowledge and expose them to modern day practice in crop production and animal husbandry.
“200 young farmers would be sent for capacity building in Israel and Morocco. When these people go and get exposed, the next question will be how will you engaged and integrate them?.
“We already have a platform like the institutional properties, the land from the schools, state governments and their communities, which will definitely make it easier for them to be integrated.
“They will begin to teach others what they saw there and how to do it and get better yield.
“NALDA’s own will be much different and beneficial to the country because we have where they will be integrated when they come back from the training. That is what makes NALDA’s programme more sustainable and unique”, he stated.
Explaining the criteria used to select the 200 young farmers, Ikonne said “we sent out messages to stakeholders, and the stakeholders selected and sent their names, and we are making sure that all the 36 states in the federation would participate in this training so as to be able to train the people within their state and their locality”.
He, however, made it clear that, “the training is budgeted for in our budget because what ever that is not budgeted for cannot be implemented. The most important thing we have budgeted is the capacity building.
“No matter what it cost to send people to get training, the most important thing is we are building a new generation of farmers that would drive Nigeria’s agriculture”, he said.
The NALDA boss charged the 200 youths to be good ambassadors of Nigeria, charging them to focus on what they would be trained on, saying that they have a great task to deliver when they return as far as training other young farmers back home is concerned.
Some of the beneficiaries spoke on the training and what they expect after the training.
Hassan Atiku, a farmer from Katsina State, said “I cultivate maize and millet beside foodstuff. I am very happy that I am one of the beneficiaries to this trip. I want to appreciate the effort of the President by building youth capacity on agriculture because building the youths is building the nation. I am ready to acquire more knowledge on crop production”.
Association Tasks Poultry Farmers On Improved Biosecurity Measures
The Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), Lagos State Chapter, has urged local farmers in Nigeria to always ensure improved biosecurity measures in their farms.
Making the call in an interview with The Tide’s source in Lagos, Chairman, Lagos State PAN, Mr Godwin Egbebe, said the group had insisted that its members adhere to strict biosecurity measures in their farms at all times, to prevent frequent disease outbreak among the flock.
“We have always sensitised local poultry farmers on the need to improve biosecurity measures on their farms, to prevent frequent disease outbreak.
“As an association, we have partnered with Animal Care, a veterinary laboratory, to help our farmers in biosecurity measures from the hatcheries.
“Biosecurity measures starts from the hatcheries. The farmers are advised to take new birds to the laboratory for tests, before mixing them with their flock.
“It is good to know the health status of any bird before mixing them with prior flock,” he said.
Egbebe also called on the poultry farmers to restrict access of people to their farms, to forestall disease spread among their flock.
He also reiterated the need for basic sanitation service in all poultry farms and proper disposal of litters.
“We also encourage our farmers to discourage constant traffic in their farms. People should not get random access to the farms to prevent disease outbreak.
“Poultry farms should also have sanitation facilities at the entrance of their farms such as water, soap and sanitisers, to avoid bacterial transmission to the birds.
“It is also important that bird litters are properly disposed of because indiscriminate disposal of the litters will increase disease proliferation across farms,” he said.
The PAN boss noted that to promote biosecurity measures in farms across the state, Animal Care gave members 30 per cent discount for their laboratory services.
Institute Seeks Sustainable Research In Food Security
The Executive Director, Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), Dr Patrick Adebola, has stated the need for Federal Government to assist the institute in sustainable research toward ensuring food security in Nigeria.
Adebola said this on Tuesday in Ibadan at the In-house Research Report Meeting of CRIN with the theme: “National Economic Empowerment Through Sustainable Research and Development of Cocoa, Cashew, Coffee, Kolanut and Tea”.
He said Nigeria and the rest of the world had been experiencing crisis, which has adverse effects on availability of food.
“We, at our in-house research review meeting, specifically chose this topic, so as to address the issue of food security.
“Addressing the issue of food security has to be through research, because if there is no research focus, there is no way we can increase food production or ensure that the food we are producing are nutritional and increased yield by farmers.
“Sustainability in terms of our research because research has to be continuous as we have to keep producing new varieties of crops to sustain the economy and food production in the country,” he said.
Adebola identified lack of extension services to farmers as a huge gap.
“But, due to the fact that the farmers are scattered all over the country and dearth in the number of Extension Officers, they were unknown to farmers.
“To bridge this gap, CRIN from time to time organises a lot of training and workshops to reach the farmers.
“But, I will enjoin the government to still support us so that we will have more extension officers that can take all the technologies back to the farmers for them to be able to adopt it,” he said.
Also speaking, Dr Rasheed Adedeji, the Director Programme Leader in charge of Cocoa Research Programme, CRIN, said Nigeria has hope, “but all the stakeholders have to come together and face the issues in Cocoa production squarely to achieve results”.
Adedeji traced issues in agricultural production generally in Nigeria to the discovery of petroleum products.
Fish Farmers Urge Govt To Boost Aquaculture In Nigeria
Fish Farmers in Port Harcourt have urged the State and Federal Governments to assist in boosting Aquaculture in the country.
Director of Albert Farms, Mr. Albert Adindu, made the call yesterday in an exclusive interview with The Tide in Port Harcourt.
Adindu, who said the call has become necessary, noted that the cost of feed has become higher than it should be, saying that many farms have closed down due to the high cost of production.
The Albert Farm’s Director said most times the farmers operate at a loss, just to retain their customers.
He noted that urgent attention need to be given to agriculture as a whole by the three tiers of government in the nation to enhance the poor economic situation of the country.
“Agriculture can serve as a safe landing for the bastardised Nigerian economy. The sector alone can settle the problem of unemployment and food security, if leaders would do the needful”, he said.
Another farmer, Mr. Harold Ekeke, who has a poultry farm in Oyibo, Rivers State, said: “Agriculture would not yield the needed result of saving and boosting the economy, if government refuse to play her role in supporting farmers.
“It requires either long term loan or grant to survive the heat in the system. Majority of farmers here are still using the old method of farming, while mechanised system has become the order of the day.
“This is the only way to have food security and stop importing almost everything into the country that can stand on its own.”
It would be recalled that the National Liaison Officer of Catfish and Allied Fish Farmers Association of Nigeria (CAFFAN ), Abuja Chapter, Mr Adamu Gambo appealed to the Federal Government to boost the sector for maximum productivity.
Gambo urged the Federal Government to assist fish farmers in the country by subsidising fish feed, saying that the high cost of feed had affected the price of fish in the market.
According to him, fish feed consumes between 70 and 80 per cent of the financial investment in fishry, thereby making it more expensive to rear fishes.
He said fish, the commonest source of protein for the masses, was no longer easy to come by due to high cost of feed.
Gambo, therefore, urged the Federal Government to subsidise and allow local production of fish feeds.
He said that soya beans, maize and groundnut cake meals were the three main ingredients making up the feed, but were also very expensive.
“If the cost of production does not drop, there is no way the price of fish can drop,” Gambo said.
He, however, commended the government for its efforts in safeguarding healthy consumption of fishes in the country through agencies such as SON and NAFDAC.
By: Lilian Peters
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