How Nigeria’s Multi-Billion Irrigation Scheme Benefits Farmers?

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News in brief: Nigeria’s vice president, Yemi Osibanjo, inaugurated an irrigation scheme in Kano state as part of a larger project that aims to benefit one million residents and 140,000 farmers. The project aims to utilise water infrastructures in the country and improve agricultural production.

Over the weekend, Nigeria’s vice president, Yemi Osibanjo, was in Kano state to inaugurate an irrigation scheme. Called the Kano River Irrigation Scheme (KRIS), it is expected to serve people in the Bunkure Council Area. It covers approximately 14,444 hectares of the region.

The project is part of a larger one, a multi-billion Naira scheme known as scheme is a component of the Transforming Irrigation Management in Nigeria Project (TRIMING) that aims to benefit one million residents and 140,000 farm families. The Federal Ministry of Water Resources oversees the entire scheme.

According to Osibanjo, the project aims to put existing water resources infrastructure to use. He claimed that some of them have existed for over 40 years but are being ‘unutilised or grossly underutilised’.

For example, Kano had about 20 dams as of February 2022. Yet, it lacked proper vehicles to use them effectively. Nigeria’s VP promised that the project will settle these issues. He said that every party, from stakeholders, irrigation and drainage entities, water users’ associations, to farmers and rural dwellers, will be beneficiaries from the project.

Osibanjo further said that the infrastructure investments will cover nearly 37,500 hectares across six states. He hoped that it will revolutionise local agricultural economy and improve food security in the country. How?

Irrigation frees farmers from rain-fed farming

Rain-fed farming has always been Nigeria’s main farming activity. Farmers grow major crops like maize, yam and cassava during raining season because they rely on rain as a source of water. However, if the infrastructures are in place to deliver water regularly without incurring more cost, farmers could grow some crops more frequently.

“…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,” Osibanjo said.

TRIMING contains three other irrigation projects apart from the one in Kano; Bakolori Irrigation Scheme in Zamfara State, Middle Rima Irrigation Scheme in Sokoto State, and Hadejia Valley Irrigation Scheme in Jigawa state.

Besides providing a source of watering farms all-year-round, the project will also provide technical assistance for farmers on how to improve their forward and backward contribution to agriculture value chains.

Obinna Onwuasoanya
Obinna Onwuasoanya
Obinna Onwuasoanya is a tech reporter of over five years, fiction writer, SEO expert and an editor. He is based in Lagos, Nigeria, and was previously shortlisted for the Writivism Short Story Prize 2018.

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