The National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) has initiated plans towards establishing a cassava packaging plant in Ogun State, an effort targeted at boosting cassava production, wealth generation, job creation, among other benefits.
Paul Ikonne,executive Secretary of the organisation made the disclosure during a courtesy visit to the Dapo Abiodun, Ogun State governor.
Ikonne told the governor that NALDA wants to reactivate its 700 hectares of farmland in Ogun State including the establishment of Integrated Farm Estate in the three Senatorial Zones of the State along with a garri processing and packaging plant.
The cassava packaging plant, he said, would complement the Integrated Farm Estates as the Farm Estates would be a beehive of agricultural activities including farming, processing and packaging areas, commodity market, residential areas and schools.
According to him, NALDA integrated Farm Estate is a concept that ranges from production to processing,packaging and marketing of the crop. He added that the farming estate is going to be sighted in the three senatorial zones in the state and would include residential areas for farmers.
He enjoined the Ogun State government to provide the lands suitable for the project, nooting that NALDA would commence work as soon as the land is made available.
“Knowing that Ogun state has the largest capacity in cassava production, our garri packaging plant would be located in Ogun state, whereby NALDA would be the off-taker from the farmers, they would process it and package accordingly and move it into the market, so putting this plant here in Ogun state would create more opportunities and also encourage the farmers to produce more knowing there would be a reward,” he said.
The NALDA executive secretary further stressed that the project is an avenue to create thousands of jobs for the youths of the state as it would touch on the entire agriculture value chain from production to processing and marketing.
He also pledged that the agency will train 200 graduates with agriculture and science background on soil testing technology which would commence based on the selection made by the State Government.
“We are training young Nigerians based on Mr President’s directive on soil testing and extension services, Ogun State is expected to nominate 200 young graduates that have agric or science degrees that would undertake this intensive two weeks training in the first phase.They would be empowered by NALDA with soil test kits and implements to collect soil samples and they would begin to generate money from the programme thereby making a living for themselves”, he noted.
On his part, Governor Abiodun, commended NALDA for choosing Ogun State as one of the pilot States for the Integrated Farm Estates, assuring that his administration will sustain the agro-produce programme.
Abiodun noted that Ogun State is the industrial hub of the country and possessed raw materials needed to sustain industries and as a result, his administration decided to key into President Buhari’s agricultural programmes.
He added that the state being the largest Cassava producer in the country would benefit immensely from the establishment of the Garri processing plant while the move by NALDA would consolidate the state’s agricultural programmes and projects such as the state’s agripreneur drive geared towards boosting employment creation for the youths in the State.