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Kaduna goes into wheat production to tackle unemployment (By: dailytrust.com.ng)

Unemployment and food insecurity are two major challenges to Nigeria’s quest for development. Any programme that will provide solution to these problems will surely receive the support and encomiums of Nigerians. Daily Trust on Sunday reports how wheat production is providing employment opportunities to many residents of Kaduna State.

Thousands of hectares of land are presently under cultivation in Zaria and other parts of Kaduna State. Farmers are being empowered to grow wheat on the lands. The aim of the programme is to provide employment for about 10,000 youths.

Presently, one of the major issues disturbing most Nigerians is food to put on the table. Many Nigerians are surviving without a reliable means of eking out a living. Therefore, the wheat production programme has offered many of these categories of Nigerians living in Kaduna State a means of livelihood.
When our correspondent visited Gagara Kutare and Shika dams in Kubau and Zaria local government areas, respectively, thousands of youth-cum-farmers were seen working on their allocated fields.
In an interview, one of the youth, Rabi’u Jafaru, 24, said he has been a subsistence farmer for the past five years, but decided to participate in the wheat production programme because he wants a bright future. “Before this time, I only assisted my father on his farm. For the past five years that I fully participated in my father’s farm, we hardly produced what to sustain our family for the whole year. Therefore, I see this programme as an opportunity that is capable of turning my life around. At least, even at this level, I feel that I have a job. The aura of employment is beginning to get out of me,” Jafaru said.
He explained that the officials of the wheat production scheme have provided them with water pumping machines, seed and fertiliser.
Daily Trust on Sunday observed that the Gagara Kutare wheat production land was harrowed before it was allocated to the individual beneficiaries.
Jafaru added; “I have been allocated one hectare. I have started work. In fact, anyone among us who would require the services of people that would assist him in cultivating his land would be given some cash in loan. That was what the officials told us. However, there are some of us who can use their Allah-given strength to cultivate their lands.”
On the conditions upon which the cash and inputs were given to them, Jafaru said, “They said the seed and the pumping machines were free. After harvest, the officials said we would be free to sell our produce to whoever we want, including the initiators of the programme. But we would be only required to pay back the cash given as loan and the cost of the fertilizer. This initiative is to assist people like us who are virtually unemployed.”
Our correspondent observed that water channels were constructed at both Shika Dam and Gagara Kutare wheat production lands. A heavy-duty water pumping machine has been provided at the Gagara Kutare area. This machine pumps water from the dam to the various channels, from where the famers can tap the water with their small machines to their various farms.                 
According to the executive eecretary of the Kaduna State Industrialisation and Micro-Credit Management Board, Alhaji Sabi’u Sani Isma’ila, 10,000 hectares have been cultivated at the Gagara Kutare area. He said the scheme had already created 10,000 job opportunities for youths in the state. In Zaria, about 3,000 hectares of land is involved. He said the essence of the programme was to strengthen national food security, facilitate import substitution and enhance job and wealth creation at rural communities in order to pave way for self-reliance.
“This administration wants to reduce rural poverty, curb unemployment by creating job opportunities for the youth, and at the same time, support the national food security. This can be achieved through the use of our God-given resources of fertile land, water resources and youthful population. That is why we thought it was wise to commence the creation of commercial production of commodities, starting with wheat under the Anchor-Brower-Programme,” Isma’ila said.
He said the pilot areas were selected after studies were conducted to determine their suitability for wheat production.
For the farmers to be guided properly and attain optimal result, the state Ministry of Agriculture and the Kaduna State Agricultural Development Project (KADP) were assigned to provide extension services, while the Lake Chad Research Institute was providing training and technical support.
For now, apart from solving the problem of unemployment in the selected areas, the wheat production programme has also solved the problem of access road for the Gagara Kutare community. A tarred road was provided by the Kaduna State Ministry of Works, linking the area with other communities, particularly the Kubau Local Government headquarters.
Traders, food vendors and other businessmen and women were also seen making brisk business. 
Beneficiaries are, however, praying for a bumper harvest, which will ultimately boost food security in Nigeria and allow her to utilise her scarce forex in other productive areas.
Kaduna goes into wheat production to tackle unemployment (By: dailytrust.com.ng) Kaduna goes into wheat production to tackle unemployment (By: dailytrust.com.ng) Reviewed by AbuZahra Ahmad on January 23, 2017 Rating: 5

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