In an effort to boost agriculture and provide employment opportunities for over 3,000 youths, the National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) has entered into a partnership with the Abia State Government.
This initiative culminated in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by both parties towards the rehabilitation of the Ogwe Golden Chicken Farm Estate in the state.
The deal was sealed recently in Umuahia, where the state Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, had hosted the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive of NALDA, Prince Paul Ikonne, and his team.
Ikonne said President Muhammadu Buhari had directed the authority to rehabilitate all farm estates across the country, including the Ogwe chicken facility in Ukwa East Local Government Area of the state.
He stated that the visit was meant to formalise the modalities for the rehabilitation of the poultry to reduce unemployment in the state by employing 3,000 youths, adding that the first phase of the project will be inaugurated in December.
According to the NALDA boss, the authority’s programmes are community-based and this one will engage youths in the entire poultry value chain. Which means that Abia will be known for egg production and finished chicken products.
He said: “It will reduce unemployment, because by the time you take away 3,000 people from the job seeking environment you are automatically creating security, as an idle mind is the devil’s workshop.
“Ogwe Golden Chicken is going to have many facilities because the land is over 300 acres and with that size, we will have the processing and hatchery points, residential area, production area in terms of producing feeds, and the packaging area.”
The NALDA boss categorically stated that Abia was entitled to three integrated farm estates and urged the governor to donate land for the two other remaining farm estates.
In his response, Ikpeazu expressed gratitude to Buhari for appointing an indigene of Abia to head NALDA. He assured the federal government that the Ikonne would continue to deliver on the mandates assigned to the authority.
The governor further stated that NALDA had inspired hope for Nigerian youths, adding that agriculture remained a significant sector that needed quality personnel for proper management.
Ikpeazu said: “You (Ikonne) have inspired hope through NALDA for our youths. Also, I will state that agriculture is a very strategic enterprise because it is one of the greatest sectors for job creation and food provision.
“We applaud NALDA’s drive to ensure local participation in its programmes to create local economies and power houses to grow the country’s Gross Domestic Product and we assure the President that the chief executive of NALDA will continue to deliver.”
The NALDA boss also announced that it was establishing fish ponds meant for women in both Abia and Borno States. According to him, the fish ponds were being established under the NALDA’s Women in Fishery Programme, adding that 50 of the ponds were being constructed in the fish village in Ikwuano LGA of the state.