President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the National Agricultural Land Development Authority-NALDA, to retrieve its abandoned farm estates to enable thousands of youngsters engage in farming.
The President noted that the resuscitation of NALDA would make Nigeria food-sufficient, and earn more revenue from export of agricultural commodities.
He also urged agencies involved in agriculture to further streamline their priorities in the inclusion of youth in driving modern methods of farming, while assuring those interested that an enabling environment will be created for full participation.
President Buhari made the remarks at the launch of the National Young Farmers Scheme, designed by NALDA to spur more youth into farming.
He said as a farmer, and by virtue of his passion and desire for agriculture, he had been directly supervising NALDA as an authority under the Presidency.
President Buhari urged the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and State Governments to give full co-operation to NALDA to attain the desired success.
He observed that the success of the Anchor Borrowers programme spearheaded by the Central Bank of Nigeria and new programmes to revive cotton, palm products and cocoa, the next few years would see a vast difference in the country’s agricultural performance.
The President said the necessary approvals that NALDA demanded for effective take-off, beginning with areas of adequate land preparation for crop farming and livestock rearing, had been given, charging the Executive Secretary of NALDA and his team to continue to live up to expectations and increase their activities in local communities.
He expressed the hope that the Scheme would take in all the categories of the youth and reduce unemployment, which will contribute to the regeneration of agriculture and boost the economy.
Earlier, Senate President, Ahmed Lawan commended the President for his steadfastness in repositioning the agricultural sector since coming to office, noting that the country has already felt the impact of the policies of the administration.
The Executive Secretary of NALDA, Mr. Paul Ikonne, had said the government’s focus was to engage 1,000 farmers from each of the 774 Local Government Areas, thereby creating 774,000 direct employment annually.