Government to boost agric with revived River Basin
The Federal Government is planning to appropriate more funds for the development of irrigation infrastructure in the 2017 budget.
Minister of Water Resources, Mr. Suleiman Adamu, who stated this in Ogoja at the take-off of the youth and graduate empowerment scheme, said the government was committed to overhaul the structure of the economy, which had largely been dependant on crude oil for decades.
Adamu said River Basin Development Authorities in the country are being re-energised so as to fully support the Federal Government’s noble objective of fully exploiting the land and water resources to achieve food security and return the country to economic prosperity.
He said the scheme would be extended to all the 109 senatorial districts nationwide and would also be reflective of the Songhai integrated farm model.
The minister stated further that the ministry had developed a quick-win interventions plan with the objectives of restoring the mandate of building institutional capacity, and maximising operation and output of the river basins and creating jobs opportunities through irrigation farming.
Meanwhile, Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State, represented by his deputy, Prof. Ivara Esu, said the state government would continue to assist and empower the youths and graduate farmers in the state with a view to achieving their potentials in agriculture as a way out of graduate unemployment and youths’ restiveness.
He said the state government had completed plans to reactivate the Banzara Rice Mill to assist rice farmers in the processing of their yields, saying he was impressed at the giant strides of the Cross River Basin Development Authority, especially in the area of irrigation, fish farming and the management of the water resources in the state.
Also, Managing Director of the Authority, Mrs. Eta Eyo Ita, said the Ogoja irrigation project, which was conceived in the 80’s and developed mainly by direct labour, has an area of 168 hectares, which has been designed to irrigate 125 hectares of land with 211 farmers and nine multipurpose co-operative societies.
She said the organisation plans to set up a 15-20 tonnes processing mill at the project site under the public private partnership arrangement with the involvement of graduates and youths of the area, which will lead to a value chain system in compliance with the Songhai model.
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