By Stanley Onyekwere
FCT Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, has identified agriculture as key to bridge the unemployment gap especially among youth, just as she expressed the administration’s determination to embark on integrated and demonstration farms in the six Area Councils of the Territory.
To this end, soil test will commenced by January 2020 in the six Area Councils to ascertain the viability of the project in each of the councils.
The Minister made this assertion when she visited Integrated Farms Limited in collaboration with SCC Nigeria Limited in Kagoro area of Kaduna state, a border town near Bwari Area Council.
Aliyu, noted that the proposed integrated and demonstration farms when established will further strengthens and empower farmers, thereby bridging the unemployment gap in the nation’s capital.
She, however, expressed optimism that Abuja has a huge market to accommodate all produce from such integrated farms, stressing that it will further enhance the economic activities of the Territory.
“I came here with chairmen of the six area councils to carry out on the spot assessment of Integrated Farm in collaboration with SCC Nigeria Limited with a view to replicating such in all the councils across the territory. What we have seen so far is quite encouraging and I can assure you that it is achievable.
“I have no doubt in my mind that if properly executed in the FCT, it will not only bridge the unemployment gap, but it will further boost the economic activities of farmers.
“We as an administration will continue to strengthen and empower the youth and women in the agricultural value chain,” she said.
She, therefore called on the management of the farm for technical support especially in the area of training, noting that such assistance will further deepen the existing relationship between the FCT Administration and the construction firm.
One of the agronomists, Mr. Kabiru Sule, who took the Minister and her entourage round the farm explained that the farm has lifted thousands of youth out of poverty.
He added that if government must wage a decisive war against unemployment and poverty, the potential in the agricultural sector should be harnessed.
Responding on behalf of other council chairmen, the chairman of Abaji Area Council, Hon. Abdulrahman Ajiya, commended the initiatives of the Minister in the area of job creation and poverty reduction since assumption of office.
The council boss used the occasion to pledge the determination of the six area councils to key into the agricultural project, aimed at tackling unemployment among rural youth.