By Cecilia Ijuo
Panda (Nasarawa) – Moringa Farmers and Manufacturers Association of Nigeria has commenced allocation of 10,000 hectares of land and distribution of moringa seedlings to farmers in Nasarawa State.
The President of the association, Mr Michael Ashimashiga, made this known while distributing plots of land to beneficiaries at a farm in Panda, Karu Local Government Area (LGA) of Nasarawa State, on Saturday.
Ashimashiga said that the exercise was in preparation for the launch of the nine billion moringa tree planting project targeted at over 300,000 farmers across the 774 LGAs of the country.
He said that the project was targeted at empowering Nigerians, particularly women and youths, to key into the opportunities available in moringa production.
“Nigeria is blessed with a tree that has so much economic value but unfortunately we are not making much of the opportunities it has to offer.
“It is in view of this that the association decided to embark on the project to help tackle the problem of unemployment, poverty, kidnapping, robbery and other criminal activities in the country,” he said.
He added:”Investing in agriculture, particularly in moringa, is one sure way of lifting many Nigerians out of poverty because of its high demand in the international market.
“Today, we are allocating plots of land on the 10,000 hectare in Panda, Nasarawa State ahead of the launch to empower over 300,000 farmers across the country.
“We have particular interest in women and youth because they form an integral part of the society.
“Part of the strategy is to allocate a plot of land to each of the beneficiaries with free moringa seedlings to nurture, and from our projection, each of the beneficiaries will earn not less than N30,000 on a monthly basis.”
Ashimashiga disclosed that the governor of Nasarawa State, Federal Government functionaries including the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Minister of Trade and Investment and other key stakeholders were expected to grace the launch, which he said would be in few weeks’ time.
Some of the beneficiaries of the project, who spoke to newsmen, expressed appreciation for the opportunity to be gainfully employed.
Moringa oleifera is a fast-growing, drought-resistant tree of the family of moringaceae, known as drumstick tree and used as vegetable, among other things.