By Adejumoke Alebiosu
The National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Agricultural Land Development Authority, NALDA, to boost Nigeria’s food security.
This was made known to the public in a statement issued last Wednesday by NYSC’s Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations, Mr. Emeka Mgbemena.
According to the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, the COVID-19 pandemic and raging insecurity has affected the agricultural industry and this has increased the number of citizens without food security from 25 million to 50 million.
Against that backdrop, senior government officials and other stakeholders had agreed to partner in bridging the gap that exists in Nigeria’s food systems which will help reduce hunger and malnutrition.
So, as part of measures to create a synergy that would lead to economic growth and development through agricultural production, NYSC signed the MoU with NALDA to increase food production in the country.
Under the memorandum, NALDA will provide technical support to NYSC in the training of corps members and development of the Scheme’s farms nationwide.
‘The MoU will make the NYSC Farms become more active, with stakeholders’ support to enhance food sufficiency though the involvement of corps members,’ the NYSC Director-General, Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim said.
On his part, the Executive Secretary, NALDA, Prince Paul Ikonne, who signed for his agency, said the collaboration would contribute significantly to the agricultural development of Nigeria.
‘There is the need for increment in food security for all Nigerians. Nigeria is in dire need of creation of job opportunities and when the youths are meaningfully engaged, there will be productivity.
‘NYSC will provide the land that would be used to train Corps Members while NALDA is very much interested in the partnership. The collaboration will boost the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
‘We are confident of a good and sustainable collaboration because NALDA and NYSC are Federal Government Agencies,’ he said.
Ikonne also disclosed that NALDA was planning to establish Integrated Farm Estate that would soon be commissioned, adding that the project was loaded with attendant value-chain benefits from crop planting to consumption.