National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) is currently working to bring herders and farmers to the table with a view to resolve issues that could hamper food security in Nigeria.
NALDA’s Executive Secretary, Paul Ikonne, said the move was aimed at considering the interests of both parties as well as creating a conducive environment for their businesses.
This will put an end to the recurring fictions between the parties in recent times which had stalled agricultural intervention programmes by the government.
Ikonne said the agency has commenced the process of establishing an integrated farm estate on the 1,200 hectares of land it just recovered and reactivated in Ekiti State, Southwest Nigeria.
According to NALDA boss, the farm estate boasts of an already existing 50 hectares of Cashew farm, storage and a processing facility that would be reactivated and upgraded by the authority.
Ikonne while addressing residents of the Okeako/Irele Ekiti in Ikole Local Government Area of the state, had assured the farmers that the authority is back and better.
The NALDA Boss had also promised that the agency will work assiduously to ensure that the farmers get all they needed to farm and produce, beginning with an access road into the farm.
The traditional ruler of the community, His Royal Highness, Oba Emmanuel Omopariola, the Alajowa of Ijowa, Ijowa Ekiti, however, told the agency that insecurity remained the major problem facing the farmers in the community.
Omopariola stated that farmers have certainly been unable to recover incomes invested on their farms because herders go into their farms with cattle that eat up crops already matured for harvest.
According to him, the situation has made life unbearable for farmers.
The traditional ruler said: “At present, what we facing is the question of security, the insecurity is so enormous that nobody around can solve it for us, earlier this year.
“Our cashews produced very well but at the end of the day farmers ended up not having any form of financial benefits as the herders came at night with their cattle that ate up the matured fruits.”
He stated that this has hindered farmers from investing in plantations like maize, sorghum, cassava and yam, adding that the people now travel miles to buy them at expensive prices.
The Alajowa of Ijowa while appealing for urgent measures to address the situation, stated that the issue of herders invading farms need to be attended to first.
According to him, this will enable the lofty programmes NALDA has for the community to be more successful.
Ikonne, in reaction to this said, “We are here to make sure that this abandoned estate comes back to life, your farm produce that you use to take out.
“You will still take them out to sell but this time it will be fully processed because whatever we going to produce on this farm will also be processed.
“We will put processing plant too so that we can add value to what we produce, this will also help your youth be engaged because agriculture is the way to go.
“The solution is, how do we come together to do our businesses so that it would benefit all of us?
He equally added that NALDA would make both parties benefit from one another, “I believe that the herders want their cow to be healthy and fattened so they can sell and make profit, what this means is that they also want a conducive environment to do their business.”