By Tosin Kolade
The Federal Government has handed over the 228 hectares Gari Irrigation Project to farmers in Jigawa and Kano states.
Five Local Government Areas of Kazaure and Roni in Jigawa State, and Kunchi, Dambata and Makoda LGAs in Kano State, under the Hadejia Jama’are River Basin Development Authority are benefiting.
The handing over was done by Mrs Oyeronke Oluniyi, Director, Irrigation and Drainage, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, on behalf of the Minister, Mr Suleiman Adamu.
Oluniyi in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Thursday said the project was part of efforts to support Government’s food security and employment creation target.
She noted that the irrigation projects, delivered to the farmers in parts was in its sixth phase, following government’s decision to complete all projects sectorally for maximum benefits.
She said the ministry, through her mandate in irrigated agriculture had aligned with the present Administration’s vision to diversify the nation’s economy and lift many people out of poverty before 2030.
She said the ministry had engaged the services of an Interface Consultant to establish and strengthen Water Users Association (WUAs), for effective operation and maintenance of the irrigation system.
According to her, farmers’ associations and the River Basin Development Authority are being trained on effective irrigation systems, and modern agricultural best practices.
“The concept of the interface consultancy is to promote Participatory Irrigation Management (PIM) by empowering the farmer’s community around the project.
“It is also for the farmers to assume responsibility for ownership of the irrigation and drainage systems around their farm plots, including financial and administrative accountability among others.’’
She commended the contribution of the Hadejia Jama’are River Basin Development Authority towards the performance of the management transfer process from Government-controlled to farmer-managed.
The director however urged the RBDAs to ensure that farmers and their associations took their new responsibilities with steady grip, by ensuring that canals, drains, roads, culverts work effectively.
Highpoint of the event was the handing over and the signing of relevant documents for the project transfer.
In a related development, Oluniyi also sensitised women farmers on maintaining acceptable water quality and hygiene for irrigated agriculture, and to adopt appropriate and safe practices while discharging waste water.
She said women and the youths were hugely involved directly or indirectly in the use of water in homes for domestic purposes such as cooking, bathing and washing.
“Women and Youths also get engaged in irrigated agriculture either for commercial or subsistence purposes.
“It is now an established fact, that a well-structured Water User Association promotes a sustainable and better managed irrigated agriculture.
“ The quality of water used for irrigation is essential for the yield and quantity of crops, maintenance of soil productivity, and protection of the environment.
“Also, of great relevance is to human health as regards consumption of some food items eaten directly or mildly cooked.’’
She however called on women and the youth to lead in promoting the attainment of good quality water in canals and reservoirs for safe crop production through irrigation. (NAN) www.nannews.ng
Edited by Ali Baba-Inuwa