The Federal Government has reiterated its commitment to invest in the irrigation sub-sector to achieve sufficient food security.
The Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, disclosed this on Thursday in Enugu during the South East Regional Workshop on Establishment/Strengthening of Water Users Association for Management of Public Irrigation Schemes.
Adamu also said that the irrigation sub-sector was one of the key policy thrusts to help the Federal Government to lift 100million Nigerians out of poverty by the year 2030.
He said the Federal Government had resolved to massively invest in the sector to achieve food and water sufficiency by moving from drought-prone, rain-fed agriculture to irrigated agriculture for self-sufficiency.
“This is the first in the series of workshops planned to establish or strengthen water users of public irrigation schemes for effective and efficient management of the schemes.
“The current administration is committed to increasing food production through irrigated agriculture and ensuring greater efficiency and equity in the distribution and use of these resources for the well-being of Nigerians,” he said.
Adamu said that the Water Bill was being presented to the National Assembly (NASS) to address various issues in the water sector.
“We are aware that it has been misunderstood. However, it is clear that the bill is not with any negative intension but to promote sustainable integrated water resources management nationwide,” Adamu said.
Also, the Ebonyi State Commissioner for Water Resources, Chief Sunday Inyima, appealed to the Federal Government to reactivate the various irrigation projects in the South East.
He listed the Adani Irrigation Scheme and Ezzamgbo Veterinary Dam, built by the former Premier of Old Eastern Region, Dr. Michael Okpara, as irrigation schemes that needed to be rehabilitated.
The commissioner also appealed to the Federal Government to complete the Ivo Water Project and other abandoned dams attracted by some members of the national assembly to the state.
“It is good to see how we can bring to life these dams that are not working in Ebonyi and other states in the region for the benefits of our farmers,” he said.
He commended the Federal Government for its policies in the sector which he said had impacted positively on rice farmers in Ebonyi.
“Nature blessed our rice and the farmers are doing better today,” Inyima said.
Mr Gerald Osuagwu, the Managing Director, Anambra Imo River Basin Development Authority, said that the South East needed efficient irrigation practices due to scarcity of land.
“We are relevant to the farmers only if we are able to provide them the needed extension services that will enhance their productivity, including the provision of adequate water for irrigation,” he said.