The Federal Government has given approval to the National Agricultural and Land Development Agency (NALDA) to permanently employ some 30,000 agricultural and other science graduates to handle soil test and other responsibilities for the agency.
The Executive Secretary of NALDA, Paul Ikonne, stated this Monday while briefing journalists on the activities of the agency in Abuja.
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Ikonne said the recruited graduates will be trained on how to collect soil samples, conduct soil test and also render extension services to farmers under the National Young Farmers Scheme launched by President Muhammadu Buhari and implemented by the agency.
The Executive Secretary said that findings have shown that many farmers do not have understanding of the nutrients requirement of their soil thereby limited their productivity adding that the President has mandated the agency to make sure that the soil begins to yield maximum output for farmers.
“We cannot achieve food security without understanding our soil, without getting our farmers to know what the soil requires. Based on that, Mr President has directed and given the approval, under the National Young Famers Scheme to engage over 30,000 young Nigerians who are graduates and have background in agriculture or sciences. They will be trained intensively for two weeks on soil sample collection and soil testing,” he said.
He said the process which has commence will be done in collaboration with the Nigerian institute of Soil Science, the state governments, adding that the graduates will be engaged full time.
The NALDA boss stressed that over the years, farmers don’t have knowledge of their soil potentials and challenges in terms of nutrients requirement and treatment noting that those employed, apart from soil testing, will advise farmers. If there are challenges or issues, they will take the samples to the lab in order to know what the problem is and guide the farmers appropriately.
Farmers will pay as low as N500 per soil sample collected and analysed while each of the employees after the training, will be equipped with the necessary tools to transmit information collected into the agency’s national data base.