FG sustains Buhari’s Strides on Massive Irrigation Projects
By Grace Samuel
In a significant move to bolster wheat production and ensure national food security, the Federal Government has launched a comprehensive irrigation project under the 2023/24 dry season farming initiative.
The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, led by Minister Abubakar Kyari, unveiled this ambitious plan, aiming to irrigate 200,000 to 250,000 hectares of fertile land, with an expected yield of 1.25 million tons of wheat.
Minister Kyari, speaking during the inauguration in Gashua, Yobe state, highlighted the project’s alignment with President Bola Tinubu’s urgent call to address the nation’s food security challenges.
This initiative falls under the Agricultural Growth Scheme and Agro Pocket (NAGS-AP) framework, showcasing the government’s commitment to agricultural development.
The dry-season agriculture in Yobe will kick off in the Kumadugu/Yobe and Wachakal River Basins, including the Nguru wetlands.
The federal government has further demonstrated its support by subsidizing farm supplies, encompassing fertilizers, improved seeds, and pesticides, by 50 percent.
Minister Kyari revealed, “The farm supplies have been transported and are ready to be distributed to farmers in the state. Each farmer will receive seven bags of NPK and liquid fertilizers, two bags of superior wheat seeds, and pesticides tailored to the size of their arable land for wheat production through irrigation.”
To ensure effective implementation, a dedicated team has been established in every wheat-producing state, tasked with monitoring the entire process from land preparation to crop harvest in various river basins.
Despite these efforts, there are expressions of discontent from farmers like Isa Mai Unguwa, representing others who claim not to have received subsidized farm inputs from the federal and state governments, despite their annual production of 3,000 bags of rice.
It is on record that President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration completed nine irrigation projects between 2016 and 2022 and, in January 2023, inaugurated the N9 billion, 5700-hectare Hadejia valley irrigation scheme in Auyo LGA, Jigawa state.
The then Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu, had disclosed in a media chat that the projects were initiated as part of his ministry’s 2015 water resources and irrigation development roadmap.
Engr. Adamu listed the nine completed projects to include Sabke, Shagari, Sepeteri, and Ejule-Ojebe irrigation projects,” Adamu said.
According to him, others are Mamu Akwa drainage and land reclamation, promotion of gender/women participation in irrigated agriculture, centre pivot system irrigation, Obinda drainage project, supply and installation of tube wells and water pumps, phase one.’
The Minister also disclosed then that the Buhari government had started eight other priority dam projects, bringing the total volume of impounded water to 30.1 billion cubic metresll.
He listed the partially completed new dams to include the Mangu dam, Ingawa/Dallaje dam, Ile-Ife dam, Ogbesse dam, Kontagora dam, Irawo dam, Nkari dam, and Jare dam.