Recently the Federal Government has been making efforts towards improving food security and employment rate in Nigeria with agriculture as one it focal points, policies and schemes are been put in place to this effect, sometime ago, the federal ministry of agriculture made known of its intention to replace the Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES) with the Agricultural Implements and Mechanization Services (AIMS), although this has generated mixed feelings amongst stakeholders, the government is forging ahead rolling out schemes that it hope will achieved its aim of boosting food security and reducing unemployment rate especially among young individuals.
In the government continuous efforts to tap into the high number of energetic youths in the country and in collaboration with states government, the Federal government in 2017 established the Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS).
The programme aims to promote national food security through sustained agricultural production as well as create employment for some 10,000 youths in each state.
According to the AADS, state governments would provide the land, access road and other needed infrastructure as well as training of the participants.
The Nigerian Government through the CBN would provide the funds which would serve as soft loan under the scheme. It, however, said participants in the AADS must be youths between the ages of 18 and 35 years willing to develop their livelihood in the agriculture sector.
The Kaduna State Government in Northern Nigeria has said that 3,000 youths have been cleared to benefit in the Nigerian government Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS).
According to Yusuf Abdullahi, the AADS Desk Officer in the state Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, “We have received 3,000 clean lists out of 7,000 applications submitted to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for screening and Bank Verification Number (BVN).“
Abdullahi said that 3,000 youths were successful in the first batch from the applications submitted to the CBN and would soon receive inputs worth over N34,000 for each one quarter acre of land.
Furthermore, he said that Kaduna State Government was selected to participate in Poultry, Rice and Sorghum Value-Chains in the scheme and that each youth farmer is expected to produce a minimum of 15 bags of either Rice or Sorghum and pay back the interest-free loan with three bags of the produce at the end of the harvest season.
According to the Desk officer, 27,000 forms have also been distributed for two other programmes targeting youths and women with no age limit in 14 local government areas. ”The 3,000 youth are in the first batch of the 10,000 expected to benefit from the programme as more applications would soon be released.
Another 5,000 farmers are being screened under a similar programme known as Accountability Responsive Capable Government programme (ARCG) by the state government”, he said.
He said a total of 80 hectares of land was provided for the prospective 5,000 farmers in the 14 local government areas, adding that the scheme would provide inputs and other needs through collaboration with DFID.
He also noted that similar programme by Olam farms would soon take-off and it is expected to cover all the 23 local government areas with the same objectives for employment and poverty reduction.