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Water minister stresses all-year-round farming as inevitability of irrigation projects

Water minister stresses all-year-round farming as inevitability of irrigation projects

BY ONYEKA AJUMOBI ONOCHIE

The Minister of Water Recourses, Engr. Suleiman Adamu, has reiterated the importance of irrigation projects to guarantee farmers’ ability to cultivate their land all-year-round and not have to wait till the wet season to commence farming.

The minister disclosed this at Gari Irrigation Project site in Kazaure, Jigawa State on Friday 7th of February, 2020 during his official tour of Kano and Jigawa States to inspect some of the ministry’s ongoing dams, irrigation and water supply projects in some parts of the states.

Speaking with journalists on the importance of the projects, the minister noted that they imperatively ensure availability of water throughout the year, stressing that through this,farmers could cultivate diverse crops, especially rice, three to four times in a year which has proven to be a tremendous boost to the economy.

He stated that such projects would be a contributory factor to the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari to lift over hundred million Nigerians out of poverty status within 10 years.

“If farmers could cultivate the crops and sell them, then the system will be able to add value in terms of extension services in order to have adequate crops, better seeds and better yields,” adding that “the future is so bright for the communities around this place.”

The minister regretted the delay in the construction work which, he revealed, commenced since 1978, but however, expressed confidence in President Buhari-led administration’s determination to make resources available to complete the project in the interest of posterity and principally because it is a priority project.

Earlier in his tour, the minister whilst inspecting the Challawa Gouge Dam project site in Kano State had noted that he only visited the sites to have a direct knowledge of the work progress and to appreciate their sizes and complexities.

He regretted that although the dam was earlier completed in 1992/93, the issue of maintenance had become a hurdle, necessitating a yet huge investment to lift the people out poverty, adding that save for the ministry’s intervention, the project had almost withered and become passé.

“The ministry is only intervening to bring it back to serviceable state in order to maintain the integrity of the dam,” he said.

Speaking further, the minister confirmed that there was a small component of hydro power in the project that Kano State is doing that he went to inspect, which had been a torn because there was no synergy between the contractors and the ministry’s River Basin Authority and was glad that issues had got straightened out.

Engr. Adamu also regretted that Tiga Dam which has the largest component in the country, built in 1974 and still impounds almost two million cubic metres of water, was neglected ànd disregarded for over the last 20 years, thereby prompting some serious rehabilitation requirements which, the ministry under his watch, has been addressing in the last six months.

The minister revealed that hectares are being increased for irrigation for farmers, even as production expansion is expected as a result.

He, consequently, urged state governments to replicate the federal government’s efforts and put the entire reservoir to use as such synergy could be of immense benefits to the teaming Nigerians living below the poverty level.

About Mikail Mumuni