By Paul Orude Bauchi
The Bauchi State Government has engaged the services of International Agricultural Consultancy Farms for mechanized farming to transform the economic fortunes of the state.
The project would ensure the development of 200,000 hectares of land for mechanized agriculture across the state.
Governor Bala Mohammed revealed it on Saturday as he kicked off the 2022 agricultural season in Nabordo in the Toro local government area of the state.
Mohammed said the program would end the state’s overreliance on the federal government’s monthly stipend.
“This is a new project that we are conceptualizing with the Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria,” he said.
“We are going to access this money, about 50 billion naira from the CBN to ensure that we participate in the scheme, intended for all young people as beneficiaries
“The 1000 young people we have already trained would be the pilot project for the beneficiaries
“We went through the Bauchi Investment Company, BIC because the program is going to be a fully-fledged business venture to improve economic capabilities
“The Department of Agriculture and the BIC have been tasked with bringing everyone together for the successful implementation of the program which will be spread across the three senatorial districts of the state.
“We’ve already mapped out the pitch and we’re working out a concept with the help of the consultants so that it’s not something like political patronage.
“It’s definitely going to be business and the idea is to put us on solid economic pictures and at the end of the day we’ll come out of an atrocious non-functioning federation account where we got next to nothing.
“We want to be economically independent and very healthy agriculturally. Indeed, we want to be the harbinger and the place where agriculture is going to be designated as the pillar.
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Governor Mohammed also revealed that the state government has signed a memorandum of understanding with the TETFUND Center of Excellence at the Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi, with the aim of educating the youths of the state on the new agricultural techniques and skills.
“Our dear State is endowed with human and land resources. It is therefore imperative for us to harness this ultimatum agricultural production potential for economic prosperity,” he said.
He assured that his administration will continue to give agriculture the priority it deserves.
He lamented that the Ukraine-Russia war had impacted fertilizers for farmers in the state.
“Ukraine is the largest producer of ammonium materials needed for the production of fertilizers.
“The current war between Ukraine and Russia has made raw materials for fertilizer production almost impossible,” he said.
“It has reduced supply with a big increase in fertilizers around the world.
“Despite the competition for our country’s ammonia supply, the government is very committed to providing the product to farmers at a reasonable cost.
“I am aware that the price of fertilizers is high and unacceptable.
“NPK is selling for N25,000 and N30,000. This is unacceptable and we need to reverse the trend.
He announced the sale of the goods at a reduced rate and warned farmers against diversion of the products.
“In our relentless efforts to train many young people and farmers in good agricultural practices, we have spent N75 million to provide adequate accommodation for the state branch of the ARMTI Agricultural Rural Management Training Institute,” said he declared.
“ARMTI has only one branch at its headquarters in Ilorin. The federal government recently decided to open six more branches based on the geopolitical area and as a result, we had difficulty establishing the northwest branch in Bauchi.