MORE than 3, 200 youth farmers, under the aegis of Kwara Youth Integrated Farmers Organisation of Nigeria, on Thursday urged the state government to open up new lands for farming.
The farmers also appealed to the government to grant them the Lease of Hold (LoH) on their 23,000 hectares of land for 25 years in order to secure their means of livelihood.
Abubakar Ibrahim, the leader of the union, made the appeal at an award presentation and land advocacy programme organised by the youth farmers group in Ilorin.
He identified the lack of access to land for farming as one of the major challenges confronting the group.
“In recent years, as youth farmers in Oke-Oyi and Alateko, we have been contending with issues that could lead to our losing our farm settlements to government and its cronies despite our huge investments over the years,’’ he said.
Responding, Mr Anu Ibiwoye, the Special Adviser on Agriculture and Rural Water Services to Gov. Abdulfatah Ahmed, pledged state government’s commitment to promoting agriculture by opening up new lands for farming in the state.
He said that his office had secured an approval to clear additional 2,000 hectares of cultivable lands in Share and 50 hectares in Malete to complement the 400 hectares already acquired in Oke Oyi; all for farming activities.
The governor’s aide said that the state government was also partnering with the Lower Niger River Basin Development Authority to acquire more lands for agriculture in this year’s farming season.
“We have made commitment to enhance agro-business and empowerment of our youths who are engaged in the farming business.
“In order to create access to lands, the state government is on the verge of accessing about N1 billion through the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“The funds will be devoted to land clearing as well as farm equipment and inputs procurement,’’ Ibiwoye said.