Nigeria: Nalda’s Dry Season Farms – a Boost to Nigeria’s Wheat Production
As Russia-Ukraine war continue to threaten global wheat supply, the National Agricultural Land Development Authority’s (NALDA) empowered dry season wheat farm has commenced its first harvest in Gombe state.
According to NALDA’s executive secretary, Prince Paul Ikonne, this first phase of the wheat harvest has the expectation of 1000 tonnes on a 200 hectares Gombe farm and additional 1000 tonnes on 2500 hectares across other NALDA’s dry season farm in the country,
With this development, it is expected that Nigeria will reap significant tonnes as crucial portion of the world wheat is trapped in Russia and Ukraine, putting huge deficit in global wheat supply.
Experts assessed that since the invasion of Ukraine last month, wheat prices have increased by 21 per cent and for those living on the brink of food insecurity including Nigeria, the latest surge in prices could push many over the edge.
The United Nations already warned that the war’s impact on the global food market alone could cause an additional 7.6 million to 13.1 million people to go hungry.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Nigeria imported N898.2 billion worth of wheat in nine months that ended September 2021.
However, Nigeria needs over 5.0 million MTs to meet local demands as it spends over $4.2 billion yearly on the importation of wheat mostly from Russia.
NALDA’s latest successes in dry season farming has reassured of the federal government’s commitment to boosting sustainable food production and creating jobs.
While taking stock of the dry season wheat farm successes in Papa community, of Nafada local government area in Gombe state, NALDA’s executive secretary, Prince Paul Ikonne who was represented by the director engineering, Engr Olusegun Owolabi, said the harvest attested to Nigeria’s capacity to produce what she eats.
He stated that the feat was worthy of celebration as Nigeria spends huge forex on wheat importation which is why NALDA is changing the narrative.
He said, “This gathering is the celebration of the outcome of partnership between NALDA and Gombe state government late last year, as agricultural product is the third item in the national importation list and resolved to kick start rewriting the history which lead to NALDA collaboration with some states including Gombe to produce wheat”.
On market availability, Ikonne said NALDA would get prospective buyer, processing companies to off take from the farmers.
While appreciating President Muhammadu Buhari’s support in ensuring Nigerians produce what they eat, Prince Ikonne commended the state commissioner of agriculture , the local government chairman, the traditional rulers and beneficiaries for giving in their best in ensuring a good harvest.
The Gombe state commissioner of agriculture and animal husbandry, Alhaji Muhammed Magaji Gettado said the farm would go a long way to improve the livelihoods of the farmers.
Gettado noted that before the establishment of the farm, youth of the community at this particular period of the year migrate to neighbouring Taraba State and other neighbouring towns to make earns meet but now they are ground walking on NALDA’s dry season wheat farm.
“Normally around this time, youth of Nafada use to go to Taraba, tella and other towns but now we thank God the story is different”
The commissioner called on NALDA to take it a step further by providing harvest machines such as threshers for the farmers to enable them package a clean produce.
According to him, the level of commitment shown by the farmers would further encourage NALDA to do more for them.
He noted that the ministry of agriculture would provide threshers on the farm for proper threshing of the wheat.
Rukayatu Usman a female beneficiary who spoke to newsmen said the project remain a blessing to them in the community.
“NALDA tried for us, they cleared the land, gave us seeds, fertilisers (NPK, Urea), irrigation facilities, farm implements and technical support,” Rukayatu said.
While pleading for more support she added tgat they would appreciate if NALDA can make threshing machines and transportation available to move the produce.
She added that over a thousand women in the community have shown interest after seeing the out come of the first phase.
Another beneficiary Mohammed Lamuwa, said the farm is not only beneficial to Nafada people alone but to the entire Gombe state.
He said with the success of the first phase of the dry season wheat farm they believe that they would do better in the wet season and the subsequent seasons to which would in turn end poverty in the community.
Meanwhile, the executive secretary of NALDA, Prince Paul Ikonne distributed pumping machines to farmers in Daura integrated farm estate to boost irrigation farming in the area.
During the presentation Ikonne charged the over 100 beneficiaries on ground to use the machines to boost their irrigation activities.
The executive secretary warned them against selling the machines as it’s for their benefit and that of their community.
“These machines are not for you to go sell, no but they are for you to use and better the growth of your farms and earn more income for yourselves and family,” he said.
The distribution was part of the NALDA’s ongoing 500 pumping machines to be given to farmers across Katsina State.