Excitement as FG Commence First Dry Season Wheat Harvest in Gombe

By Ene Okwanihe, Abuja

Benefiting youth and women of Papa community in Nafada Local Government Area of Gombe state, North East Nigeria could not hold back excitement as the National Agricultural Land Development Authority NALDA commenced harvest from its first dry season wheat farm in the community to boost local production and generate income for the farmers.

The wheat farm sits on a 100 hectares land that was cultivated in December of 2021 by 100 women and youth from the community at a ratio of 1 hectare to a person.

The beneficiaries were provided with 2 Brand New Tractors, Agro-chemicals, fertilisers, irrigation pump, improved hand tools, land clearing and technical guidance by NALDA.

On a visit to the farm, the Youth and women were seen harvesting, threshing and bagging the produce.
The Executive Secretary of NALDA Prince Paul Ikonne who was represented by Engineer Olusegun Owolabi, Director Engineering NALDA while addressing the farmers said the harvest is proof that Nigeria can produce what she eats and eat what she produces.

He stated that the feat is worthy of celebration as Nigeria spends huge forex on wheat importation which is why NALDA is changing the Narrative.

“This gathering is the celebration of the outcome of partnership between NALDA and Gombe State Government late last year, asthe Authority observed that Wheat, an agricultural product is the third item in the national importation list and resolved to kick start rewriting the history which lead to NALDA collaboration with some states including Gombe to produce wheat”

On market availability, Ikonne said NALDA would get prospective buyers (processing companies) off take from the farmers.

While appreciating President Muhammadu Buhari’s support in ensuring Nigerians produce what they eat, Prince Ikonne commended the state commissioner of Agriculture, the Local government Chairman, the Traditional ruler and beneficiaries for giving their best in ensuring a good harvest.

The commissioner of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry in Gombe state Alhaji Muhammed Magaji Gettado said the farm would go a long way to improve the livelihoods of the farmers.

Gettado noted that before the establishment of the farm, youth of the community at this particular period of the year migrated to neighbouring Taraba state and other neighbouring towns to make earnings but now they are ground walking on NALDA’s dry season wheat farm.

“Normally around this time, youth of Nafada use to go to Taraba, tella and other towns but now we thank God the story is different”

The commissioner called on NALDA to take it a step further by providing harvest machines such as threshers for the farmers to enable them to package a clean produce.

According to him, the level of commitment shown by the farmers would further encourage NALDA to do more for them.

He noted that the Ministry of Agriculture would provide threshers on the farm for proper threshing of the wheat.
Rukayatu Usman, a female beneficiary of the project who could not hide her excitement, while speaking in Hausa said the project is a blessing to them in the community and they’re thanking God for blessing their hard work with bountiful harvest.

She appreciated NALDA for providing them with all they needed on the farm.

She added that over a thousand women in the community have shown interest after seeing the outcome of the first phase.

Another beneficiary Mohammed Lamuwa, said the farm is not only beneficial to Nafada people alone but to the entire Gombe state.

He said with the success of the first phase of the dry season wheat farm they believe that they would do better in the wet season and the subsequent seasons to which would in turn end poverty in the community.

It would be recalled that NALDA commenced dry season wheat farming in some states across the country in late 2021 to boost wheat production and reduce importation.

From Nafada, the NALDA team moved to Kordon, Yamaltu/Deba Local Government Area of the state to inspect ongoing construction work on its Modern Tomatoes market.

So far the market has 18 buildings consisting of 16 blocks of 64 shops and 2 blocks of stores already finished, a reservoir, borehole, office block, toilet facilities and fencing are all on the way in the market.

The Market would serve as a one stop point for all kinds of Perishables for farmers and consumers from all over the state.

Speaking to the beneficiaries expected to occupy the market, the Executive Secretary of NALDA who was represented by Engineer Olusegun Owolabi, Director Engineering NALDA said that the level of Vegetable business going on in the area deserves a better operating environment.

“This gesture was conceived and implemented to complete Horticultural crops Value Chains activities in the state as the volume of business taking place deserved an improved business environment to encourage domestic and international transactions. This is to be used to neutralize the poverty being weaponised against the people- farmers and traders”

The state commissioner of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, Alhaji Muhammed Magaji Gettado who said the state government is committed to doing its own part to ensure that the project is successful.

He assured NALDA that the facility would be utilised for the benefit of the people.
“I want to assure you that this market would be fully utilised and the people would reap the benefits of this very important”

Gettado appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari for his intervention in the Agriculture sector through NALDA.

The District head of Kordon, Alhaji Mohammed Sani Abubakar expressed satisfaction with the project saying the people of Kordon hopes that the market won’t be only for Kordon but would come to be known as a market for the entire North East Region and for the country at large.

He appreciated NALDA and President Muhammadu Buhari for citing the project in his domain.

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