By G9ija

The National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) has commenced dry season wheat farming in the country from Jigawa State to bridge the national deficit in wheat production and reduce importation.

The wheat farm sits on a 100-hectare land in Marke town in Kaugama Local Government Area donated by the state government and is expected to engage 300 hundred youths from the area.

Executive Secretary of NALDA, Prince Paul Ikonne made this known on Friday in a statement issued to newsmen.

NALDA will provide input support, training for farmers, supervise and support them through the farming period as well as off -take from the farm thereby ensuring availability of market for the harvest.

At the flag-off ceremony on the farm in Kaugama, Ikonne said the choice of Jigawa State for the ceremony was due to the good soil texture and the state governor’s agricultural track record.

While commending the state government on the land donated, he asked the government to make available more lands for wheat production as NALDA was ready to help turn the state into a wheat production hub in Nigeria.

“I am glad to inform us that the state government has provided us with land, but we would still ask Your Excellency to provide us with more lands as NALDA intends to make Jigawa the hallmark of wheat production in Nigeria,” Ikonne said.

“This 100 hectares donated by government would take 300 farmers which NALDA would provide with seeds, pumping machines, pesticides and herbicides.

“At the end of the day NALDA would do the off – taking from them so that farmers would have value.

“So, it is purely an out- growers project that NALDA has brought to Jigawa State,” he said.

Ikonne said NALDA was following President Muhammadu Buhari’s mandate to make agriculture attractive to Nigeria’s youths and encourage them to see agriculture as a way of life and means of earning money.

While responding, the Jigawa State Governor, Mohammed Abubakar said it has been established that the state ranked high in wheat production in the country and with NALDA’s intervention, it would become the biggest wheat producer in the country.

Abubakar said effort of the state in agriculture was being complemented by President Buhari led administration through the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor Borrower’s Programme and NALDA’s intervention.

He noted that the state was ready to render all the needed assistance NALDA would need to execute the project.

“We reiterate our commitment from the governor down to the extension worker that all you would need on the field, we are committed to this development.

“We are committed to agriculture and we are committed to obeying President Muhammadu Buhari who asked us to produce what we eat and eat what we produce,” Abubakar said.

He thanked NALDA for training 270 youths in the state to be soil doctors, noting that the gesture would go a long way in boosting best agricultural practices.

The governor says Jigawa State has over 400,000 hectares of land that is good for year round farming and government is ready to donate more lands to NALDA especially as the purpose is for supporting Jigawa people.