Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja
The Federal Government on Friday announced that it had commenced the reactivation of its 700 hectares of land in Ogun State for the establishment of an integrated farm estate in the state.
It also announced that a cassava processing plant would be established in the estate to boost the value chain and create jobs, as 200 persons were being trained in soil testing in Ogun.
The Executive Secretary, National Agricultural Land Development Authority, Paul Ikonne, made the government’s positions known during a courtesy visit on the Governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun.
Ikonne said in statement issued in Abuja that the Federal Government through NALDA would possibly acquire more land from Ogun State to establish farm estates in the three senatorial zones in Ogun.
He was quoted as saying, “Mr. President has directed us to create employment and achieve food security through NALDA’s mandates and we are running projects which Ogun State has been selected as one of the pilot states.
“The integrated farm estate is going to be sited in the three senatorial zones in the state and it is a concept that takes in everything from production, processing, packaging and marketing. It will also have residential areas for farmers.”
Ikonne told the governor that NALDA would be requesting the state to provide additional land suitable for the farm estate project, adding that as soon as the land became available the agency would commence work.
He said, “Knowing that Ogun has the largest capacity in cassava production, our cassava packaging plant would be located in this state and NALDA would be the off-taker from the farmers.
“They would process it, package it accordingly and move it into the markets. So putting this plant here in Ogun State would create more opportunities and also encourage the farmers to produce more.”
On his part, Abiodun said his state decided to key into the Federal Government’s agricultural drive because as the industrial hub of the country, raw materials were needed to sustain the industries.
He said, “For us we felt it is important to key into Mr. President’s ‘grow what you eat and eat what you grow programme’ because we appreciate the fact that we are the industrial capital of this country.
“And to sustain that we need to continue to sustain our agro produce programme because that is the engine room of inputs for industrialisation.”
The National Agricultural Land Development Authority had commenced the establishment of integrated farm estates across the country, as it had started work in Imo and Ekiti states, while Ogun came as the third state.