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The Federal Government has clarified that the proposed establishment of 109 Integrated Farm Estates in the country has nothing to do with Ruga or ranches as widely speculated.
The Executive Secretary of the National Land Development Authority (NALDA), Mr. Paul Ikonne, gave this clarification on Friday while speaking with some reporters at Owerri, Imo State capital.
Africa Today News, New York reports that President Muhammadu Buhari had directed NALDA to establish integrated farm estates in all the 109 senatorial districts to boost food production across the country.
However, in a sharp reaction, Pan-yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, had in a statement by its spokesman, Mr Jare Ajayi, alleged that the federal government was attempting to bring back cattle colony and RUGA through the establishment of the farm estates.
The NALDA boss said: ‘Well, is unfortunate, it’s not another type or anything that has to do with Ruga. The Integrated Farm Estate, the president mandated us to put it in all the 109 Senatorial Districts.
‘After commissioning that of Daura, meaning he saw the productive nature, the impact that project will make. The project is meant for the community, to develop the community. What we have inside is poultry, fishery and for those who are doing piggery – piggery. So, is for the people.
‘The insinuation is meant to mislead people as a result of lack understanding so to say. But the truth position is that the integrated farm estate is designed to accommodate the youths from that community in order to engage them into entire agricultural value chain.
‘And it depends on what the community is known for and what the community is interested in going into. Some states are getting poultry, cow-like in the north; in the south like Abia they are doing fishery and rabbit rearing.
‘In Oyo we already have rabbit rearing and crop farming; in Ekiti State as well we have crop farming. So, it depends on the environment, and it has nothing to do with Ruga at all. It’s purely for development, and to engage the youths and for the benefit of immediate community, that is what the integrated farming estate stands for.’
Ikonne, while speaking on Buhari’s official visit to Imo on Thursday, said the visit clearly showed the president’s passion and love for the people of the South East zone of the country.
AFRICA TODAY NEWS, NEW YORK