NALDA advocates “Grow Your Vegetables” Initiative
By Ene Okwanihe, Abuja
The National Agricultural Land Development Authority NALDA has flagged-off its “Grow your Vegetable” programme aimed at encouraging Nigerians, particularly urban dwellers to utilize little spaces around their homes to grow vegetables to improve food production and cut cost.
The programme targets urban dwellers and smallholder farmers who have little or no space to effectively utilize what they have.
It encourages them to make use of flower beds, flower pots, sacks and polythene bags to collect viable soils and plant vegetables around their homes.
A-one day training to flag-off the programme was held in Abuja Nigeria’s Capital city by NALDA for about 200 participants who were also given hybrid seeds of pepper, tomatoes, onion and pumpkins at the end of the training.
Effect of urbanization
The Executive Secretary of NALDA Prince Paul Ikonne said the programme is in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s “we must eat what we produce and produce what we eat” initiative.
He said the tradition of planting vegetables around our homes is fading away largely due to urbanization.
“The essence of this programme is to inform us of what we use to know while growing up. Our parents used every available space at the back of the house or at the front of the house to plant vegetables but urbanization is trying to take that away thereby making life in the urban cities more expensive than the rural areas but NALDA is trying to encourage you to grow your vegetables in order to reduce your cost of living.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has mandated NALDA to encourage Nigerians to produce what we eat and eat what we produce and this is one of the ways we encourage particularly the urban areas”, he stated
Prince Ikonne encouraged urban dwellers in places like Lagos, Portharcourt, Owerri and Abuja to convert their flower pots to vegetable pots.
“Because of lack of space in places like Abuja, Lagos, Portharcourt, Owerri and other urban cities in Nigeria, all you need to do is to turn your flower pots into vegetable pots. Instead of merely beautifying your house with flowers, put a seed and in two to three months, you will begin to harvest and that would reduce cost so you don’t need large expanse of land to grow what you eat”, he added.
On the issues of space management, Prince Ikonne urged Estate developers in the country to create little spaces for gardening when building estates around the country.
He noted that creating little spaces for gardening won’t take away anything from the beauty of the estate adding that the programme would be replicated in other urban cities in Nigeria.
Back to school initiative
The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory who was represented by the Managing Director Abuja Enterprise, Mr. Shehu Abudulkadir, the initiative by NALDA would go a long way in not only bringing some financial succour to families by saving them some money but added boost in the implementation of the Federal governments “back to school initiative”.
Abdulkadir said it is hoped that the initiative would increase awareness amongst Nigerians on the importance of Backyard vegetable farming.
He called on FCT residents to take advantage of the opportunity provided by NALDA and be trained on how to use everyday house objects to grow vegetables around their home.
He however called on residents to carry out plantings within the FCT environmental laws regulating backyard farming especially within the city centre and assured NALDA of the support of the FCT in its mandate of making Nigeria food sufficient.