By Olayinka Olawale
The National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) has empowered about 203 poultry farmers with feeds, broiler chicks and battery cages in Lagos State.
The two-day programme is under the NALDA Home Grown Poultry Empowerment Scheme of President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda.
Speaking at the distribution exercise at Ijaiye Housing Estate, Agege, Lagos, on Monday, Prince Paul Ikonne, Chief Executive Officer, NALDA, Abuja, said the initiative was to empower the less privileged.
Ikonne noted that the aim of the empowerment scheme was to engage farmers, reduce importation of frozen chicken and to protect the foreign exchange and strengthen it.
Ikonne was represented by Mr Olusegun Owolabi, Head, Engineering Department, NALDA, Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that under the programme each beneficiary received 24 broiler chicks, three bags of feeds which consist one starter and two finishers, and a battery cage, as well as comprehensive training on broiler rearing.
He said the programme had been done in FCT, Lagos and would be carried out in Abia and Cross River states before the end of the year.
Ikonne noted that the focus of the empowerment scheme was to engage the people, create jobs and improve livelihood.
He added that the focus of the government was for the beneficiaries to rear the birds; sell the broiler; reinvest the money and continuously repeating the process.
Ikonne noted that the programme would ensure inclusive economy thereby empowering people at the grassroots.
According to him, this is a two-day empowerment exercise for poultry farmers in Lagos State.
“On Sunday, a similar exercise took place in Ikorodu area where we distributed poultry inputs to 100 beneficiaries.
“This is the focus of the programme tagged ‘President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda’ and what is given back to home grown empowerment scheme.
“We have done in FCT, now in Lagos, and we will be going to Abia and then Cross River.
All of them will be done in phases.
“Today, we are replicating the same thing here in Agege area to distribute and empower over 100 beneficiaries with birds, cage, feeds and capacity building.
“Each farmer will receive 24 broiler birds, three bags of feeds, one battery cage and intensive and elaborate capacity building.
“The chicken is four-weeks old, with complete vaccination, therefore they don’t need any vaccination again.
In the next three weeks, they should be ready for sales,” he said.
Ikonne said the poultry home-grown empowerment scheme is under NALDA’s women and youth empowerment programme aimed at supporting the group in the society.
He added that the plan was for beneficiaries to rear, sell and reinvest the money they make back into the scheme.
“We will follow-up with them, monitor their activities and any of them who is committed may enjoy upscaling from the NALDA’S end.
“The focus of the government is to engage them, reduce importation of frozen chicken , the frozen chicken is not advisable for consumption, and can be easily contaminated,” he noted.
Mr Ibrahim Babalola, NALDA’s Lagos State Administrator, said that shortlisted beneficiaries were drawn from 15 local government areas in Lagos State.
Babalola said that NALDA is an agency under the presidency and not under the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.
He said that NALDA would off-take the broiler from them after four weeks.
Babalola said the birds would be grown in the homes of the beneficiaries.
“We have gone to their various homes to see if they can accommodate it and have the capacity to rear the birds.
“We also have our farmers that monitor them, have group leaders, we form them in cluster group so that we can monitor what they are doing.
“So, at every given time, we know how they are doing and who is actually participating well.
“This means that whoever that has done well will get the continuity of the programme and the continuity will depend on how the farmers take care of the birds.
“Whoever does well will have his or her birds increased to 48 in the next circle.
“What this programme is meant for us to empower people, and how do we go about this is that we are going to give them chicken, rear it and we will buy it back from them.
“The beneficiaries are expected to rear it for another three weeks, now we are targeting December and Yuletide.
For the next three weeks or four, we will offtake it from them, remove the capital, reinvest and give the beneficiaries the profit.
“The capital we removed is to re-circle the programme again.
We have off takers already for the produce and they are ready to buy back and sell into the Lagos market.
“Whatever is produced here will be sold here, we are not taking anything out of Lagos,” Babalola said.
Mr Tunde Momoh, an agricultural consultant, advised the beneficiaries to follow all the guidelines in the rearing and management of broiler chicks.
Momoh said broiler chicks are the most complicated and difficult to rear among the various birds adding that they need more care, attention and good environment for proper management.
According to him, a broiler chick has a short life cycle of eight weeks and does not thrive in dirty or hot environment.
He said the empowerment programme if well managed would improve the livelihood of many farmers while increasing their business.
Some beneficiaries who spoke to NAN lauded the Federal Government for the kind gesture, while calling for it to be extended to more people.
Miss Grace Oladele said that the empowerment would help her overcome the hash economy situation in the country.
“I’m happy today that I can be one of the beneficiaries to be empowered .
I am so very happy about what the Federal Government is doing for us today.
“I just want to plead with the government to provide more support to succeed with the project by monitoring and capacity building.
“This empowerment will really help me because Nigerian economy is not very good but with this programme, things will improve,” she said.
Mr Taiwo Ajayi, an agriculturist, thanked the government and promised to take off the birds and succeed in the business so as to get another opportunity.
“This programme is going to go a long way to impact so many people lives who are not really doing anything right now because of the economy situation.
“The price of feed is scary, many poultry farmers are closing down but with is empowerment, we can do something for ourselves.
“I will passionately take care of those birds and ensure that they are safe, so at the end of the day, I will make more money,” he said.
Edited by Chinyere Joel-NwokeomaShare on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn