By: Onome Amuge
- Potential for 72,000 direct jobs
- Additional 840,000 indirect jobs
Date farmers in Sokoto State are projecting that by 2024 they would hit production of 100,000 tonnes of the palm, and they are being backed by the state’s chapter of the Association of Date Farming, Processing and Marketing of Nigeria (ADAFPAM) under which the target is being made.
Muhammadu Maidoki, the chairman stated this during a three-day national conference of the association themed; “The importance of Date Palm to the Nigeria Economy and the environment” held in Sokoto, the state capital.
According to him, the projection will generate 72,000 direct jobs, support 840,000 indirect jobs and accrue over N150 billion revenue per annum, for the state alone.
Explaining how the government intends reaching the set target, Maidoki disclosed that the state government had established a date plantation in Tsamiya District of Tureta Local Government Area, the second largest date palm plantation in the country.
The plantation, he noted, is a pilot scheme as the government would establish similar plantations in all the 87 districts of the state. He also confirmed that the state government procured 40,000 improved date palm seedlings from the Nigerian Institute of Oil Palm Research, which has been distributed to individuals and communities across the state.
“Similarly, we set up a youth volunteer scheme in all our secondary schools to establish at least, one hectare of date palm orchard in each school. This is currently active in about 20 schools and will soon be extended up to 500 schools in the state,” he added.
This approach, he assured, will prepare a generation equipped to manage all aspects of the date palm value chain and hopefully, position the state as the leading hub in date palm farming, processing and marketing.
Hassan Dikko, the association’s national president, said the association was established with the aim of promoting the farming, processing and marketing of date palm in Nigeria.
He expressed displeasure over the neglect of many date palm plantations in the country which, according to him, possess very great potentials of making a country economically viable.
He noted that many countries before now had relied on date production as a major source of revenue and these countries have achieved development based on revenue generated from date palm.
He enjoined members of the association and stakeholders to exploit all aspects of the date palm value chain as it is essential to the country’s economic growth.