NALDA to establish 3 cassava processing plants in Imo

The Executive Secretary, National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA), Prince Paul Ikonne on Monday said Federal Government has approved the rehabilitation of Songhai Farm and the establishment of three new cassava processing plants in Imo State. 

Ikonne said President Muhammadu Buhari has also approved the empowerment of 1000 Imo women in cassava production, with 5000 men to benefit from NALDA’s, Central Bank project.

In a statement on Monday, the executive secretary said the authority has also commissioned Achara-Ubo Emekuku Integrated Farm Estate in Imo State.

This, he said, was in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration vision to create jobs for the youth and women to ensure food security. 

According to the statement, Achara-Ubo farm, located in Owerri North local government area, sits on a 35 hectares land with six poultry houses and 18 pens containing about 10,000 birds.

“It also has three goat houses with 196 goats and three piggeries containing 108 pigs, it also boasts of three solar powered boreholes, access roads and drainage and solar powered street lights on the farm.

“The farm will give 600 direct engagements to farmers in poultry, piggery and goatery, while 200 additional farmers will be engaged in the processing, packaging and export. 

“This farm will train farmers within and outside Imo State and 200 beneficiaries have been trained and empower with the knowledge.

“`The beneficiaries were the first set of people to benefit from this project, passing out within six months to stand on their own.

The activation of this farm is one of the ways to demonstrate the passion of President Muhammadu Buhari in terms of agriculture,” he said. 

According to him, the farm, which was abandoned for 30 years had to be taken over by NALDA, saying it was the desire of President Muhammadu Buhari to reactivate and reform the farm estates across the country.

“President Buhari believes that going back to the land is the only way our economy can be sustained and our youth will be gainfully employed to achieve food, security and we are very hopeful that the farm will be very productive and that the farmers will begin to earn income. “

He said that during the first year of the entire project, approximately 1,000 farmers would be engaged in the area of animal husbandry, processing and packaging. 

Ikonne said the place would also be a training center for the youths in Imo State, nothing that partnership with the CBN was to give them grants that would be used to establish their own farms.

“For the first one year they will be here, they will get the technical knowledge, they will know how to rear their own animals and then the Central Bank grant comes in to support their projects. “

” We are looking at three million naira per farmer and it is a revolving loan as they are productive, so with that, you will see that the number of the unemployed will reduce in the state and across the country”. He said.

For sustainability, Ikonne noted, that the project would be handed over to the community to take its ownership for proper management. 

The statement also quotes Imo State Governor, Sen. Hope Uzodinma as saying that the project would be sustained through local security and several trainings which would put many beneficiaries on the track of sustainable animal husbandry.

“The partnership with NALDA was to enable federal government to bring more equipment to enable off takers to take our products to the appropriate market and thereby making us earn more income and increase our internally generated revenue’’.

The governor said the state government in collaboration with federal government will invest N18 billion for the revival of the similar moribund Songhai Farm.

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