Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says the Federal Government, in collaboration with International Development Association (IDA) and the World Bank, has committed 495 million dollars to irrigation projects in Nigeria.
Osinbajo disclosed this on Friday while inaugurating the Kano River Irrigation Scheme (KRIS) in Zangon Buhari Local Government of Kano State.
The project, under the aegis of the Transforming Irrigation Management in Nigeria (TRIMING) Project and the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, is part of efforts aimed at addressing food insecurity in the country.
According to the vice president, the counterpart funding from the Federal Government for irrigation project in the country is in the sum of 44 million dollars.
“I am delighted to be here at the official commissioning of the Kano River Irrigation Scheme which is a part of the Transforming Irrigation Management in Nigeria Project; an acclaimed success story of the Federal Government’s intervention in agriculture.
“Today’s occasion is a milestone in the implementation of the Transforming Irrigation Management in Nigeria Project.
“This project was conceived in 2012 as a product of collaboration with development partners and eventually advanced into an implementable programme in June 2014 when it was approved by the World Bank Board.
“As part of our determination to address poverty and food insecurity, the Federal Government is implementing this project in collaboration with the IDA, the support of the World Bank in the sum of 495 million dollars and counterpart funding from the Federal Government in the sum of 44 million dollars.’’
Osinbajo said that the objective of TRIMING Project was to enhance the productivity of no fewer than 140,000 farmers within the four rehabilitated irrigation schemes in Northern Nigeria.
He listed the four schemes as Bakolori Irrigation Scheme in Zamfara state, Middle Rima Irrigation Scheme in Sokoto state, KRIS, and Hadejia Valley Irrigation Scheme in Jigawa State.
The vice president said that the project provided technical assistance for farmers at each irrigation scheme and facilitates strong forward and backward linkages along the value chains.
“The project is an innovative approach adopted by the Federal Government, which has opened access to life changing opportunities for the farming communities that are involved with the Project.
“The project also serves as a vehicle to effectively harness the potential of vast water resources infrastructure, some of which were built well over 40 years ago but largely remained either unutilised, or grossly underutilised.
“The main beneficiaries of the project include basin stakeholders, irrigation and drainage entities, water users’ associations, farmers, and rural dwellers in the Project areas.
“ Through the direct infrastructure investments covering about 37,500 hectares across six states, concurrent activities in agriculture and on-farm water management in these areas, approximately 140,000 farm families with about one million people are directly benefiting.’’
He said that the event was a clear demonstration of Federal Government’s commitment to transforming the conditions of Nigerians in the nation’s food basket.
Osinbajo said it entailed optimising Nigeria’s water resources in ways that would revolutionise the local agricultural economy and ultimately enhance the food security of the Nigerian people.
“The practical advantages of unshackling our farmers from the constraints of rain-fed farming and boosting their capacity for year-round farming cannot be understated.
` This is precisely what we are doing through this project.
“On the part of the beneficiary communities, we have seen that substantial infrastructure and other water distribution facilities have already been rehabilitated, modernised or even replaced.
“ Through the years, these communities have suffered the frustration of poorly maintained water distribution facilities with the attendant losses that have ensued.
“ It is my hope that we will now see these facilities as ours and embrace our collective responsibility of preserving them and ensuring their sustainability,’’ he said.
Earlier, in his welcome address, Minister of Water Resources Suleiman Adamu, said the project was part of Federal Government’s interventions in collaboration with development partners, to enhance the food production drive of the country.
“In realisation of the government’s efforts to address the nation’s food security drive, transformative changes are required which brought about the need for the transformation of irrigation management,’’ he said.
In his goodwill message, Ganduje said that he event was historic because the Federal Government has added another development project to the people of Kano State.
“Kano State, being one the most populous states in the federation, there is no doubt that our immediate need cannot be more than food security.
“So, the inauguration of this irrigation scheme has no doubt help in increasing the socio-economic development of the state,’’ he said.
The highlight of the event was the unveiling of the plaque for the project by the vice president.