The federal government has expressed its readiness to intensify efforts toward Nigeria’s 3.14 million hectares of irrigation systems to boost food production in the country.
Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Mr Joseph Terlumun Utsev, disclosed this at the ongoing 5-day National Workshop of the Nigerian National Committee on Irrigation and Drainage (NINCID ) themed The Role of Irrigation and Drainage Practices for Food Security in Nigeria in Kano.
The Minister who gave this assurance also reiterated that the government is committed to ensuring adequate water supply to homes, industries, and for agriculture purposes nationwide.
The Minister, who was represented by the Director of Irrigation and Drainage, Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation, Mrs Oyeronke Oluniyi, stressed the crucial need for a paradigm shift away from conventional rain-fed and unregulated practices towards a sustainable and efficient approach to land and water use management.
He added that this transition can be realized through the stimulation, promotion, and development of water and land resources, specifically focusing on irrigation and drainage as well as flood control and river training, in alignment with the core values of the International Committee on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID) and by extension, NINCID.
He also noted that this strategy aims to mitigate threats such as land degradation, deforestation, rapid population growth, socio-economic development, and climate change, ensuring the long-term sustainability of water resources.
The Minister further disclosed that the present administration places a high priority on the water sector for socio-economic development, aligning closely with objectives relating to poverty reduction, integrated model farms development, employment generation, and environmental management. Furthermore, he emphasized that irrigated agriculture, in its diverse forms and scales, stands out as a critical factor in the country’s food security strategies.
He added that Nigeria, with a potential irrigation capacity of 3.14 million hectares, has gained recognition as one of the 54 active committees by ICID and recalled Nigeria’s membership in ICID since 1970, highlighting continuous active participation through the NINCID, and in acknowledgement of this commitment, adding that Nigeria has received a hosting right for the ICID-Africa Regional Conference slated for 2025.
He expressed optimism regarding the nationwide expansion of irrigation areas and encouraged stakeholders and participants at the workshop to actively contribute to crafting resolutions that will strengthen and consolidate sustainable irrigation practices in Nigeria.