From Yakubu Mustapha Minna
The Niger State Government has concluded plans to empower 1,000 youths with N1.5 billion set aside by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for Accelerated Agriculture Development Scheme of the federal government.
The state Commissioner of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Haruna Nuhu Dukku, disclosed this during a press briefing after the approval during the weekly Executive Council Meeting in Minna, the state capital.
Dukku stated that, the money was set aside by the CBN for each state to engage the youths in farming of agriculture products as part of agricultural value chain intervention of the federal government.
The commissioner noted that 1,000 hectares of land have been cleared in the three geographical zones to engage the youths, adding that one hectare will be given to each youth to cultivate crops such as rice, maize and soya beans.
He explained that 250 hectares of land was cleared in Rijau, 400 in Mokwa and 400 in Borgu Local Government Areas of the state as well as 100 hectares of land each in Tagwai and Gwada respectively as pilot scheme for the implementation of the programme.
“We have three mandated crops to plant such as rice, maize and Soya beans. The areas mentioned are the pilot places to start the accelerated agriculture development scheme.
“The fields have been cleared, what is left is to engage tractors into the farm and plough them then the youths will commence farming,” he stated.
The further informed that each beneficiary would be given about N400,000 to N500,000 each for labour and other necessary things needed for farming, added that the essence of the programme was to boost agriculture production in the state and Nigeria.
He hinted that the beneficiaries indicated their interest through application and were screened before qualified candidates were selected for the programme hence the success of the intervention in Niger State.