Food Security: Group develops 617-hectare farmland for grains
The Nigeria Farmers Group and Cooperative Society (NFG-CS), a rural community-based farm settlements initiative, said it cleared a 617-hectare farmland to cultivate maize, rice and other grains.
The Secretary of the group, Mr Redson Tedheke, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Gaate, Nasarawa State on Thursday that the initiative was to key into the agricultural revolution of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said that the farm, located at Gaate village, a rural settlement along Keffi-Akwanga road in Kokona Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, was geared toward ensuring food security for Nigerians.
Tedheke added that “this 617-hectare farm is where ordinary Nigerians come together, gather their resources with the support of government, to key into the laudable agricultural initiatives of Federal Government.
“We are farmers who believe that agriculture is the pride of the nation.
“We also believe that farming brings people together, especially in rural communities.
“This project is the beginning of NFG-CS nationwide push to promote and support farming as tool that will provide sufficient food for Nigerians and empower them as well.”
The scribe explained that the farm was primarily to cultivate maize, rice, soya beans, wheat and other cereals, since they were known to yield better in that region.
He added that the demand for such produce was readily available because they were daily basic foods of many Nigerians.
According to him, the over 150 members of the group contributed toward securing the land, besides government support.
“We have discussed with many individuals who have farmlands around this area, approached community leaders as well, and then lease this land for a period of five years for a start.
“The funding is basically by contributions from members, loan and the Federal Government agriculture support initiatives.
“Clearing is the primary responsibilities of members, and some of our members have provided us with necessary support to ensure that is done.
“The Federal Government is however taking care of the farming proper, from planting to harvest through its agriculture support agencies.
He explained that the group was being assisted by Federal Ministry of Agriculture and the CBN through the Anchor Borrowers Programme.
Tedheke said the NFG-CS was a formation of men and women from across Nigeria who were interested in farming wherever they may be.
He added that provisions were also made for civil servants and other busy career persons to own a farm without necessarily going to work in the farm.
“We are pulling in people from across the country, irrespective of where they reside.
“The arrangement is such that you can have a farm without coming to work on it yourself, even if you are not in the country.
“An individual can participate as dependent farmer, the one that is not available to work in the farm, and the society will recruit labourers to work in the farms.
“At the end of the farming season, produce are sold and farmers are expected to save 10 per cent of profit with the NFG-CS,” he explained.
According to him, the Cooperative has made arrangements to ensure that the farm is
protected by the community youths, as way of engaging and empowering them.
He, therefore, urged Nigerians, irrespective of their class, to join the group for the nation to attain self sustenance in provision of food.
He said “President Muhammadu Buhari has stressed the need to grow Nigeria from within, and self-reliance through food provision is one of such ways.
“The CBN and other relevant agencies of government are now working seriously toward developing the agriculture sector.
“Since this government has clearly shown sincerity and the political will to develop the sector, we have to take the necessary steps.
“Farming is the best investment anyone can make, because everybody eats.”