• Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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NDDC moves to empower young farmers for food security, job creation

NDDC moves to empower young farmers for food security, job creation

The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has pledged to support small-holder farmers to grow their operations and become training centers for youth, as part of its plan on advancing food security and promoting youth employment.

Speaking during an inspection visit to some farms in Akwa Ibom State, the NDDC Executive Director of Projects, Victor Antai, stressed the Commission’s commitment to leveraging the agricultural potential of the Niger Delta region and promoting the shift from traditional to mechanised farming methods.

The Executive Director, who was accompanied by the NDDC Director, Agriculture and Fisheries, Winifred Madume, and the Director of Commercial and Industrial Development, Godwin Nosiri, expressed delight at the enthusiasm shown by young farmers in boosting food production.

Antai said that the Commission would purchase modern farming equipment such as tractors to boost its agricultural initiatives. He stated: “In fulfilling the Renewed Hope Agenda of the President Bola Tinubu, the NDDC introduced the youth empowerment programme, which has agriculture as one of its key components.”

Antai recalled that the NDDC was collaborating with the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) as part of its efforts to ensure food security in the Niger Delta region.

He said: “The Niger Delta region because of the arable wetlands, rainfalls and other favourable ecological factors, is in a better position to plant various crops and vegetables at least four times within a farming season.

“We are trying to move away from the oil economy and the sector which can accommodate our youths in large number is the agricultural sector. We also want to move from subsistent agriculture to mechanized farming in order to harness all the opportunities that the Niger Delta region has to offer.”

Speaking at his farm in Ikot Ebom Itam in Itu Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, the chairman of the Commercial Farmers Association in the state, Aniebet Antia, identified lack of capital as the major constraint to commercial farming, noting that with proper funding, small-holder farmers would contribute substantially to food production in the country.

The NDDC team also inspected the Asuakak Farms at Ididep Usuk in Ibiono Ibom, Local Government Area, managed by a young farmer, Kufre Joseph, who had a variety of crops, including cassava, Cabbage, cucumber, carrots, tomatoes and pepper.