The National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) on Friday says it has begun the process of establishing an integrated farm estate on its 1,200 hectares of land in Ekiti.
NALDA’s Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer, Paul Ikonne, made this known in a statement in Abuja.
Ikonne said the farm estate in Okeako in Ikole Local Government Area of the state had been in existence for over 20 years and owned by the agency.
He noted that the agency’s 50-hectare Cashew farm, storage and a processing facility at Okeako farm estate would be reactivated and upgraded.
Ikonne dropped the hint in a meeting with the NALDA farmers, who had been cultivating the land over the years.
The traditional ruler of the place, Alajowa of Ijowa Ekiti, Oba Emmanuel Omopariola, assured the farmers at the meeting that the authority was back and better.
According to the royal father, the agency will work hard to ensure that farmers get all they need to cultivate and produce, beginning with an access road into the farm.
“We are here to make sure that this abandoned estate comes back to life with the result that you will be in a position to take out and sell your farm produce, unlike in the past when you couldn’t.
“This time, it will be fully processed because whatever we are going to produce on this farm will also be processed.
“We will put processing plant too, so that we can add value to what we produce, this will also help your youths to be engaged because agriculture is the way to go.”
The traditional ruler noted that the farm estate would definitely open up the community to a huge development, as the facility would have processing, packaging and farming zones.
Oba Omopariola said that the best way to address the issue of insecurity is to dialogue with the farmers and herders around the communities, to prevent future clashess.
“I believe that the herders want their cow to be healthy and fattened, so that they can sell and make profit.
“What this means is that they also want conducive environment to do their business.
“So, NALDA is going to engage them and the communities; we will create an avenue where they can feed their cattle, so that we all can live in peace,’’ he said.
According to the Oba, farmers in the area are unable to recoup incomes invested because herders go into their farms with cattle and eat up crops that are already mature for harvesting.
Oba Omopariola blamed the farmers’ inability to cultivate crops like maize, cassava, yam and sorghum on this challenge. (NAN)