By Doris Fedinard
The National Coordinator of the The Nigeria Farmers Group & Cooperative Society, (NFGCS) Retson Tedheke has described its farm project in Ga’ate, Kokona LGA, Nasarawa State as an advance RUGA.
He spoke with Daybreak correspondent today while commenting on how the settlement has been able leverage on federal government incentives to develop an integrated farm settlement which he described as a RUGA, while calling on government to pay more attention to rural agriculture.
“This farm is an advance RUGA because we are actually operating the basic principle of RUGA and it is working for us. Many people especially in the south have developed a phobia for the word RUGA, but if you want to know what a RUGA is come to our farm and get some education.
What we have here is an integrated sustaining farm settlement. We have an animal husbandry section with cattle, poultry, goats, sheep. We have an Abbatior and cold room facilities. Interestingly this section is managed by Fulanis and other Nigerians from all over the country and they are working in harmony. Our staff strength alone is over 300″.
He noted that the main processing section houses a rice mill, a cassava processing plant and a flour mill as well.
He noted that the farm settlement was designed to be self sustaining and integrated “our focus is processing not selling raw farm produce, we are developing a unique and self sustaining model along the general line and concept of RUGA”.
He said the settlement has also developed a cow Hydroponic Fodder Feeding Unit, a yam barn and feed mill.
“We have everything here we want here to make the farm self sustaining. We are building the capacity of our staff and creating opportunity for other Nigerians for skill acquisition especially in the fabrication of agricultural tools and machineries.
For security we have four police post with 12 police officers residential quarters for staff, a power plant with four generators(250kva, 200kva, 60kva and 50kva With 20, 15, 10×2 Diesel Lister Generators for welders). Our groundnut oil processing plant is coming soon also.
Tedheke also listed the farm’s 500million cubic litres of water capacity as a major component of its sustainability drive.
“The dam currently services our 50hectares of irrigation farming including providing drinking water for over 50,000 Cattles.”
“We are working and living in harmonious relationship with surroundings villages made up of four Christian Eggon and Mada communities and our host predominantly Muslim Ga’ate community
When you come here you cannot tell apart who is a Christian or a Muslim. We do this in common. We are creating a model that works, a model for RUGA that can be replicated in other parts of the country not only for economic reason but also to foster peace and unity in the country”
We have a standard football field, a standard basketball court that also contains the volley ball court and a badminton court. The lawn tennis court is being developed. We have a host of other indoor sports facilities for the confirt and relaxation of staff after a hard day’s work”
The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nigeria, Central Bank of Nigeria Including all state governors must begin to think rural in proferring solutions to Nigeria’s national question. The national question on insecurity can be solved through RUGA we have tested it and it works. Let’s stop talking, let’s start working”
Let us begin to focus on rural agriculture as the foundation for battling insecurity. Let us focus on RUGA as a solution not a problem” He said.