Nigerian Farmers Group, a cooperative farming society has begun the first harvest of maize on the 1,000 hectares of land leased to it by Gaate community over a renewable period of 5-years
The cooperative society, whose main reason for its establishment is to enable urban dwelling Nigerians own and run farms, said they were happy with the maize harvest they got from the land and they hoped it would help stem the tide of the soaring price of maize in the country.
It was revealed in June, by Novus Agro Nig. Limited (an agro commodity price tracker), that there was over 83% price increase of maize.
It was also said that a metric tonne of maize sold for N183,130 in Lagos, as against N100, 000 sold last year.
The coordinator of the NFG project, Mr. Thedeke, said about 7000 tonnes of maize have been harvested and currently being processed and that 10,000 tonnes more is still being expected at the end of the whole process.
Giving reasons why the cooperative ventured into agriculture, Mr. Thadeke said “We looked at agriculture as it worked in other places in the world like China and we are trying to replicate same here”.
He further stated: “All of this is because we feel the energy to change this country should be invested in agriculture. We have enormous land in Nigeria. If we can commit 30 per cent to agriculture, we can change this country from within.’”
He also said that their biggest challenge to achieving the cooperative goal was funding stating that the cooperative had already spent about N5 million to construct a dam ready in preparation for the dry season.
Moreso, although the government supported the project by giving them N556,000 worth of goods which would cost two million naira in the open market; He added that government can also help the cooperative by providing her with more labour through its N-power programme.
Gaate, the host community have also started experiencing development through the farm project of the cooperative through the construction of a school as well as DSTV subscription.
According to the president of the cooperative, Mr. Waziri, the plan is to inject 5-20 % of the profit they make from their harvest into the development of the community.
On his part, Adamu Baba, the youth leader thanked the cooperative for its efforts at trying to transform the community.