FG to allocate more funds to irrigation projects in 2017 budget
The Federal Government would allocate more funds in the 2017 budget to revitalise existing irrigation projects in the country, Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, has said.
The minister said this at the flag-off of the Youth/Graduate Empowerment Scheme in Ogoja, Cross River on Friday.According to the minister, the youth empowerment scheme will be extended to the country’s 109 Senatorial Districts, reflecting the Songhai Integrated Farm Model in Benin Republic.
The minister also commended the youth farmers at the Ogoja Irrigation Project, adding that the scheme would continually engage selected participants in batches of 50.
According to him, the beneficiaries would be trained in crop farming, aquaculture, dairy farming, animal husbandry and food processing.Adamu said the country’s River Basin Development Authorities were being re-energised to support government’s resolve to exploit land and water resources for food security and economic prosperity.
He said that government would maximise the operation and output of the river basin authorities through irrigation farming and aquaculture under the youth empowerment scheme.
In his remarks, Gov. Ben Ayade of Cross River said his administration would continue to empower the youth and graduate farmers to achieve their potentials in agriculture.
Represented by his deputy, Prof. Ivara Esu, Ayade said the state government would reactivate the Banzara Rice Mill to assist rice farmers in the processing of their yields.
Ayade commended the Cross River Basin Development Authority for its giant strides especially in the area of irrigation, fish farming and management of water resources.
Earlier, Mrs Eta Eyo Ita, Managing Director, Cross River Basin Development Authority, said the Ogoja Irrigation Project, which was conceived in the 80’s, covered 168-hectares.
According to her, the project is designed to irrigate 125 hectares of land with 211 farmers and nine multipurpose cooperative societies.Ita said the Ogoja community, known for rice farming, however, had no rice mill or de-stoning plant, forcing farmers to travel to Abakiliki in Ebonyi to process their yields.
Ita assured that the river basin authority would set up rice processing mill at the project site under a Public Private Partnership arrangement.She said the Authority was collaborating with the NYSC to training corps members and unemployed youths in fisheries, bottle water production and farm management.
Rita Ayim, Chairman, Ogoja Local Government, said the council would support the scheme in order to take youths off the streets and provide employment for young graduates.
Emmanuel Ugbe, Chairman of Obudu Local Government, lauded the federal government’s initiative in water supply and the creation of jobs for youths in the area.