By Ginika Okoye
The Federal Government has mapped out 15,000 hectares of land in Kwali Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), to encourage youths participation in agriculture.
The Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, announced this while speaking with newsmen in Abuja on Monday.
Ogbeh said the programme, which was a first step toward encouraging youth agriculture, would be implemented in partnership with the Aso Saving, a primary mortgage institution in the country.
According to him, the youths would engage in fish, poultry, livestock farming as well as grains production to boost food supply.
“ We have a huge project in Kwali Council Area of FCT where we intend to launch a youth agriculture programme and we are going to inspect the land tomorrow.
“We are entering into partnership with Aso Savings to lease land out to young farmers, who are interested in farming.
“There are about 17 rivers and streams there which we will exploit to create lakes and facilities for irrigation farming.
“We shall develop the place into a small agricultural city providing accommodation, processing and security,’’ he said.
The minister said the programme would be replicated in other states of the federation to encourage youths and discourage rural-urban drift.
Ogbeh said that the ministry was collaborating with the Bank of Industry (BOI) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to reduce interest rates on agric loan to nine per cent.
He advised young people to engage in agriculture in order to sustain and boost local food production and processing.
“The whole business of importation should be discouraged. We want to produce and eat fresh foods,” the minister said.