FG considers drip irrigation for food production  

As food prices continue to soar, the Federal Government, has hinted that it was introducing drip irrigation system to boost food production and security in the country.

This was made known by the Director, Irrigation and Drainage, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Engr. Esther Oluniyi, at the ‘Inception Workshop On FAO Technical Assistance for the Promotion of Pilot Drip Irrigation System’ in Abuja.  

The project is located at Gari Irrigation Project under Hadejia Jama’are River Basin Development Authority. 

Oluniyi said it has become imperative to compare the drip irrigation pilot initiative with the flood-based irrigated systems, and others.

She said: “The Federal Government is making effort through the Federal Ministry of Water Resources to promote food security and sustainable water management for irrigated agriculture towards producing more crops per drop of water.

 “FAO has expressed support through Technical Cooperation Programme, TCP, to promote a 20-25 ha pilot drip irrigation system, which started with identification of suitable land/site for the project.

“This programme was initiated by the Department of Irrigation and Drainage as a pilot initiative to compare low energy drip based irrigated system side by side gravity canal, flood based irrigated system with the view to come up with some irrigation parameters such as; volume of water use; quantity of drops produced; cost of power, cost of labour, and others.”

Meanwhile, in a goodwill message, the FAO Country Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS Commission, Fred Kafeero, said the essence of the Workshop is on the heels of climate change that has hit Nigeria and other countries.

Kareero said, “The project is coming at an opportune time when countries including Nigeria are faced with devastating effects of climate change, associated challenges of a declining natural resources base and rising security issues threatening food supply, lingering loss of income sources among the population of agriculturally based livelihoods.

“For us in FAO, promotion of drip irrigation in Nigeria will provide an enabling and attractive environment that will bring more youth, peasant farmers, and other vulnerable groups to engage in the production of high value crops through the utilization of cheaper and simpler irrigation technologies that can be operated and maintained with very minimum training”.

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