…seeks support of Lower Niger River Basin Authority
By Joke Adeniyi-Jackson
In a bid to support Federal Government in attaining Sustainable Development Goal in food security, the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Kwara State council will soon start off its agricultural project.
The Chairman, Mallam Umar Abdulwahab disclosed this during a courtesy visit by executive members of the union to the Executive Director, Lower Niger River Basin Development Authority (LNRBDA), Engr. Shuaib Adeniyi Aremu in Ilorin, on Thursday.
Abdulwahab, said the aim is to complement government’s efforts towards realising local food self-sufficiency and to ensure people’s access to quality agricultural products.
He pointed out that the effort is also in line with the campaign by the present administration for diversification of the economy to agriculture.
The NUJ chair, therefore, solicited support of the agency in making the project a reality by providing expertise and farm inputs as well as incentives.
Abdulwahab, however, commended the agency for various initiatives including youth empowerment, which he noted has impacted positively on the lives of people in the state.
The union boss added that the Federal Government’s intervention through the agency, particularly the irrigation project in Kwara North, has aided agricultural development in the state.
Responding, the Executive Director of LNRBDA revealed that the FG has given the agency mandate to open up 100,000 hectares of land for people to farm, within its jurisdiction.
He, then urged the NUJ to key into the agency’s one -man-one-hectare scheme, explaining that under the programme, the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk-Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) provides inputs and fund.
“We are partnering with other agencies like NIRSAL, such that we provide the land and carry out the land preparation, while the agency would provide inputs and fund. Farmers won’t have to invest money. There is an off-taker arrangement in which the farm produce will be sold and farmers given the profit,” the Executive Director said.
He explained further that the essence of the scheme is to ensure food security and self sufficiency in staples, while decrying the huge sum of money the country expend on importation of rice annually.