The Federal Government has commenced the process of establishing an integrated farm estate on the 1,200 hectares of land it just recovered and reactivated in Ekiti State.
It announced this on Friday through the National Agricultural Land Development Authority, adding that the farm estate was located in Okeako/Irele Ekiti in Ikole Local Government Area of the state.
A statement issued in Abuja by the authority stated that the farm estate, owned by NALDA, had been in existence for over 20 years but was abandoned over the years.
NALDA’s Executive Secretary, Paul Ikonne, said his agency would develop, reactivate and upgrade the 50 hectares of cashew farm, storage and a processing facility on the estate.
Speaking to farmers in the estate, he said, “We are here to make sure that this abandoned estate comes back to life.
“Your farm produce that you use to take out, you will still take them out to sell but this time it will be fully processed.
“Whatever we are going to produce on this farm will also be processed, we will put processing plants so that we can add value to what we produce.”
Ikonne said the farm estate would processing, packaging and farming zones, as he noted that the Federal Government had directed NALDA to revamp the project.
On the issue of insecurity and herders crises, the NALDA boss urged the communities to dialogue with farmers and herders to prevent future occurrence.
He said, “The solution is, how do we come together to do our businesses so that it would benefit all of us? That is what NALDA would do, I believe that the herders want their cow to be healthy and fattened so they can sell and make profit.
“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. Based on that we are doing what we call integrated farming.
“They can buy from us, while we also can buy from them and the farm can benefit through the cattle dung serving as manure.”
In another meeting with the Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, the NALDA boss said his agency was in Ekiti to carry out the president’s instructions.
Ikonne said the instructions included to recover and reactivate the Federal Government’s abandoned farm estates across the country and utilise them for agriculture to benefit youths in the grassroots.
He said the funds for the development of the 1,200 hectares farm estate in Ekiti had been made available, adding that NALDA would start with work on the 4.5km road project leading to the farm.