The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono has said that the upgrading of the irrigation technology would ensure sustainable economic growth, improved accessibility and affordability of sound technology such as smart precision irrigation in the build up to attaining food security, nutrition and increase the internally generated revenue of the farmers.
The Minister, made this disclosure while receiving on a courtesy the Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Sulemain Adamu.
A statement signed by the Information Officer II of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Abdullahi Gana said the visit was to seek further avenues of collaboration by both ministries in the development of the Agriculture, especially dry season farming.
The statement noted that Alhaji Nanono said ‘’water is key to agriculture and to sustain water supply essentially all season farming, there is every need for effective collaboration and synergy between the two ministries”.
He added that the Ministries will set up a Steering and Technical Committees to ensure that proper framework and guidelines are outlined towards achieving set targets for the benefits of the country in line with Mr. President’s diversification policy of the economy.
The Minister also pointed out that ‘’people are now putting more efforts into dry season farming and once you mention dry season farming, it is synonymous with water.
“This is where FMWR comes in, either in small or large irrigation farming, our role in the Ministry is to take advantage of the location of the water bodies provided by the Ministry of Water Resources, such dams, and explore how to promote irrigation farming in those areas”.
Nanono appreciated the Minister of Water Resources, Engr Adamu for his support and commitment in the rehabilitation of dams across the country.
According to him, “I have physically seen finished dams where farming process has been taking place, assuring that the ministry will synergize in order to increase food production, create more jobs and generate revenue for the country”.
He further informed that “there is need to identify potential areas for the development of more irrigation schemes to raise crops, livestock and take note of time line operations so as to promote irrigated agriculture in each of the six (6) Geopolitical Zones of the country for wealth, job creation and attainment of food security and nutrition”.
The Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Adamu in his remarks, reiterated the the commitment of his ministry to support the ministry in any capacity to realize food security.
He stated that, “FMWR is committed towards providing adequate water supply during the dry season farming to ensure food security in the country and will support in terms of provision of access water in rural areas for crop and livestock development across the nation”.
He called for more commitment by key players in ensuring that the expectations are met, noting that ‘the development of positive attitudes will bring about positive results.
In another development, Nanono received on a courtesy visit, the National – Coordinator and Chief Executive Officer of African Union Development Agency – New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AUDA- NEPAD), Princess Gloria Akobundu who was also in the ministry to seek partnership and support for the implementation of the organization’s flagship programmes in line with the decisions of the Heads of States of the African Union for the development of the African continent.
She expressed the need to assist smallholder farmers across the country especially women and youths to cushion the impact of COVID -19 Pandemic. According to her, the women farmers are the bedrock of food production in Nigeria.
In his responses, the Minister disclosed efforts by the Ministry in the empowerment of the women smallholder farmers including a recent roll out distribution of free Agricultural inputs to 7,500 to women in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
In addition, the minister said similar distributions were earlier done in other states across the country and also the recent inauguration of the National Gender Steering Committee to bridge the gender gap of smallholder farmers in Nigeria.
Nanono added that “smallholder women farmers constitute about 70-80 percent of the agriculture labour force and they produced the bulk of food for domestic consumption”.