Malete Integrated Youth Farm Project: Training New Nigerian Farmers
Underlying Mission Statement
“I dream of a day when graduates of accounting or banking and finance would prefer to own and run their own farm rather than seek banking jobs; a day when young men and women who hold degrees on engineering or any other degrees in farming, not because they have options, but because they regard farming as a more lucrative enterprise.”
“I dream of a young man or women in jeans and T-shirt walking into a bank with his laptop. And on his computer he is able make a cash-flow analysis and other business argument to persuade demonstrated profitability of his farming venture”
- Gov. Bukola Saraki
Malete Youth Farm Centres New Frontiers
Since its flag off in August 2005, the Malete Integrated Youth farm project has enjoyed tremendous increases in clout and goodwill. Though it has one natural advantage which attracts goodwill as populist programme intended to engender empowerment, its handlers have also been prodigiously creative, not just to sustain it but to perpetually keep the project focused and on path.
Governor Bukola Saraki presenting a certificate to one of the graduands of Malete Youth Farm on the occasion of the graduating ceremony.
As an institution with the dual mandate of being a breeding ground for successor generation of farmers and an establishment conceived and nurtured to generate profit, innovation indispensably remains an oiling factor to remain flourishing.
Rather than relenting and basking in the euphoria of these past years of success stories, the management of these past years of success stories, the management of the farm has chosen to be on its toes, seeking ways to keep the project ahead of its peers.
There is even the more compelling need to continually put on its thinking cap in view of the frightening mortality rate of such initiative across the country in contemporary times: of all the 22 such projects run variously by both public and private concerns, less than a quarter of them are presently running and in good health.
According to the outline of its latest strategic work plans, the emphasis will continue to be on “delivering quality and technology-driven agricultural training, profit oriented, sustainable agricultural activities and equipment rental and leasing services capable of growing the bottom line” for maximum profitability.
The youth farm centre and its outstations are presently under going deliberate re-engineering so as to position then to maximally benefit from the running rebranding effort of Governor Bukola Saraki in the agricultural sector.
Group of Graduands
At these troubles times of global economic miasma, further compounded by the restiveness in the energy sector, the farm centre canvasses “a shift to commercial agriculture” as a viable option for the nation realisation of its socio-economic objectives on the new millennium.
In this respect, a reorientation of the citizens toward positive altitude to agriculture and agricultural activities is expedient. No longer should agriculture be perceived as a vocation exclusively for the indigent or the unemployed.
Thus, the centre is redoubling its efforts to “train farmers in modern agriculture, generate employment” and to develop a commercially sustainable and enduring agricultural programme sufficient to meet contemporary challenges.
Through what it calls balanced portfolio on investment, the farm centre intends to create and preserve wealth by diversification. The initiative will also further “Strengthen existing systems, update the curriculum and create new agricultural training schemes. This will also complementing, reduce risk, improve the quality of training and generate additional income streams.
Governor Bukola Saraki in Malete at the flag-off of a new planting season.
As part of the new spirit geared toward improving internal processes, the Malete farm centre has “Set time specific and realistic targets for the various farm production units.”
More than ever, the present need has, according to the farm centre’s current strategic work plans, necessitated training and re-training of its staff to produce the desired quality of personnel required to achieve the target level of excellence.
In the centre’s reckons, this feat could hardly be achieved without providing necessary incentives tied to goal-target achievements. This will not only encourage efficiency but “control shrinkage activities” as well as reduced pilfering to the barest minimum.Because of some mechanical limitation, activation of soya beans would be de emphasised in the 2010 current planting season.
Buldozer at Malete Youth Farm preparing farmland for a new planting season.
More attention, going by the farm centre’s outlined work plans, would be given to maize and cassava cultivation as priority commercial crops in the new season. This seemingly curious decision may not be unconnected with the unpredictable circumstance of market season and the natural fire disaster (as a result of bush burning) suffered at the malete and the oke-oyi farms last year when over 70 hectares of maize and soya beans were destroyed by fire.
With about 13 modern equipment, accommodation and other infrastructural facilities to guarantee the needed comfort of the staff and trainees at the centre, it is arguably the better of its kind around. Not even the A.g. Leventis Group’s attempt in this respect is comparable to the malete youth farm centre as recent reports have it that most of its farm have been forced to close down by circumstances.
As an upwardly mobile institution its immediate project according to the present Farm Manager Mr Babatunde A. Akinsinde, one of his many projections is to make the centre a self sustaining one, though still essentially built on a solidly working public – private partnership.
To achieve this it intends to strengthen and foster “Collaborations with relevant organisations and research institutes such as the IITA, Kwara State University (KWASU)”, Grain Research Institute, Cocoa Research Institute in setting up on-farm demonstration plots so as to showcase the benefits of improved technology and dissemination of results for commercialisation on graduands settlement- farms.
Set of motorcycle presented to the graduating farmers
It also plans to establish a small-scale cassava processing mill to add value to raw tubers as well as to serve as a processing hub for improving lives and livelihood of resource poor farmers in the community.The Apodu Dam is also planned to be a major source of water for a projected modern irrigation scheme to train and serve a 100 hectares farm land of cultivated vegetation and maize throughout the year.
Farming at its best in dry season – How?
Though not particularly new, the Malete Integrated Youth Agricultural Training Farm Center is introducing a fresh, less stressful and profitable method to dry season farming.
Irrigation as an influential method in farming is not strange, especially with farmers in Northern Nigeria. Whether there are enough facilities or technical knowhow to optimize the benefits there-from is another issue.
Even in places where there are relevant facilities and necessary technical know-how, it is in doubt if the accruing benefits are maximized.
The Malete Youth Farm Center is not now just interested in, on its own, changing the story; it is also through a deliberate effort, teaching people to change the story for better.
Starting the demonstration dry season farming initiative with 100 hectares vegetables and fresh maize, the water supplies from the Apodu Dam promises an uninterrupted irrigation throughout the dry season.
It may not be Apodu Dam in your own case; it may be another river that has an equally long life span that guarantees the sustenance of this worthwhile initiative.
While a better fed world community is grateful to you, you will be better off, richer and more fulfilled for taking bold initiative. Let’s wean our world from the stereotyping, straight jacket life of a mono season. God didn’t make it so.
The spacious and well powered refrigeration at the cargo terminal will be of immense advantage to dairy farmers and those into horticulture who will be eager to take advantage of the large markets in Europe, now brought within their reach by the singular presence of this cargo terminal.
Ilorin, the Kwara State capital enjoys a robustly unique advantage of its central location. The State Capital itself as emerging megacity is a major link to the North West, North Central and the South West. This, in itself is a rare advantage that is hoped to be maximized by the cargo terminal and its users.
Though with far less capacity, the overstressed cargo facilities at Murtala Mohammed will be relieved when Ilorin Cargo Terminal commences operations.The new infrastructure promises to be a great leveller for all users as it offers to give equal, but competitive opportunities to all. It also offers to make the difference as it promises a unique selling point of time, a vital consideration in contemporary business world.
Customs and other officials are billed to be at their duty posts attending to passengers with a compelling urge to optimize quality services.
When it commences works, the Ilorin Cargo Terminal with the facilities and the capacity it parades, will arguably, be the biggest in the West Africa sub-region. And because of the unique advantage of its location, will be the most patronized.
Source: Kwara State Web Site