The federal government says the farm estates it is setting up in senatorial districts across the country are different from RUGA (rural grazing area) and ranching schemes.
On Sunday, Paul Ikonne, executive secretary of the National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA), announced that President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the agency to establish farm estates.
The development was greeted with rejection in some quarters over the claim that the move is an indirect attempt to acquire land for a section of the country.
But reacting to the claim on Friday, Ikonne described the allegation as “unfortunate”, adding that the project is for the development of communities.
The executive secretary said the project has nothing to do with RUGA, adding that it is purely for development and to engage youths in the agriculture value chain.
”Well, it 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,” he said.
”After commissioning that of Daura, he (referring to the president) saw the productive nature, the impact that the 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. So, it is for the people. The insinuation is meant to mislead people as a result of lack of understanding so to say.
“But the truth is that the integrated farm estate is designed to accommodate the youths from that community in order to engage them into the 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, cattle rearing 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, 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 the immediate community, that is what the integrated farming estate stands for.”
PROMOTE YOUR | MUSIC| VIDEO | COMEDY SKIT | MIXTAPES HERE ON CONNECTNAIJA CALL/WHATSAPP : +2348122390211