Farmers in Imo community are excited as the Achara-Ubo Emekuku Integrated Farm Estate in Imo State has been commissioned by the National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA).
The farm has six poultry houses with 18 pens that contain about 15,000 birds, 3 goat houses with 196 goats and other livestock.
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The 35 hectares farm estate contains arable land in Owerri North Local Government Area and is also equipped with three solar-powered boreholes, access roads, drainage and solar-powered street lights.
The Executive Secretary of NALDA, Prince Paul Ikonne, at the commissioning ceremony said the project was in line with the federal government’s strategy to lift millions of Nigerians, especially youths and women out of poverty.
Ikonne said the Achara-Ubo farm is expected to take in 600 farmers, adding that the processing and packaging section will soon start, which will take in additional 200 people and the crop section will soon start because we have provided the tractors.
He said the farm was abandoned for 30 years and President Muhammadu Buhari order the agency to reactivate and revamped farm estates across the country.
He added that President Muhammadu Buhari has also approved the establishment of three cassava processing plants in Imo State which will engage 1000 women this farming season to enable more garri production and feed for the animals.
Ikonne maintained that in the first year of the entire project, approximately 1,000 farmers will be engaged in the area of animal husbandry, processing and packaging.
The farm is also expected to serve as a training ground for many young farmers as the agency said they are working in tandem with the Central Bank of Nigeria to provide a revolving loan of N3 million per farmer.
NALDA said the project will be handed over to the community to take its ownership for proper management.
Mr Agba Kingsley, head of the goat department, who left block moulding business to join the farm, said he found farming more lucrative, calling on other young Nigerians to embrace farming.
“Government is doing well by establishing the farm and the business is profitable, so if Nigerian youth have interest in farming, the outcome will be profitable for them, they should join us,” he said.
Speaking at the commissioning, Imo State governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma, said the government would ensure local security and capacity building to scale up productivity and increase the number of beneficiaries.
The governor also said the state was working with the federal government to invest N18 billion to revive the moribund Songhai Farm project.
“The partnership with NALDA is to enable the 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,” he said.