… Donates irrigation equipment to small holder farmers in FCT
By Palma Ileye
In continued efforts to enhance adequate food supply and security, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, FMARD, has collaborated with the British American Tobacco (Nigeria) Foundation to train farmers on the importance of modern irrigation techniques to tackle climate change hazards and boost the economy.
Delivering a Keynote address during an event organised to empower trained Small holder Irrigation Farmer Clusters in Abuja yesterday, Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, Engr A.G Abubakar stated that irrigation farming has remained a viable way to increase food production through year-round farming and leveraging on the available abundant water resources to cultivate crops and produce food and earn livelihoods through many endeavors during the production cycle.
Represented by Mrs Sugra Mahmood, Deputy Director, Irrigation Agriculture and Crop Development, Federal Department of Agriculture, he noted that government was committed to supporting the agricultural sector, in order to realize its potential of driving an inclusive economic growth, achieving food and nutritional security and also creating job opportunities for the unemployed population.
Abubakar said that as part of the interventions by the Federal Government to achieve the above objectives, the Ministry was promoting irrigation agriculture to enable year-round production in the country and also combat the effects of climate change.
He disclosed that this empowerment which was in collaboration with British American Tobacco Foundation was aimed at supporting the farmers with Irrigation equipment for the expansion of your farming activities.
“As you are all aware, one of the key priorities of the present administration under the Economic Sustainability Plan is to improve our agricultural sector, which is the key sector identified for driving the diversification of the economy, employment generation and to achieve food and nutrition security.
“Therefore, may I use this opportunity to once again appreciate our partners- The Birtish American Tobacco for the laudable gesture of supporting Small Holder Irrigation Farmers with Invaluable resource for their activities. I will also like to thank the farmers here and the IA&CD Division for their tireless effort in making this event a reality.
“As part of the Interventions by the Federal Government to achieve the above objectives, the Ministry is promoting irrigation agriculture to enable year-round production in the country and also combat the effects of climate change. This empowerment which is in collaboration with British American Tobacco Foundation is aimed at supporting you the farmers with Irrigation equipment for the expansion of your farming activities,” he further stated.
The Director also called on the benefiting farmers to make judicious use of the equipment that was given to them and ensure an improvement in their collective contribution to the National food basket adding that this was particularly paramount due to the lingering security challenges in the country, which has reduced food production in many areas especially in the North, thereby affecting the Food System in the Country.
Also Engr. Sadiq Waziri, Representative of the British American Tobacco and implementers of the Programme, Eco- Lead Imperial Engineering and Global Services Limited said that improving the environment and boosting agriculture was very important while assuring that the Programme was a continuous and ongoing process as the partnership will be extended to ensure that the size of the intervention will grow hopefully and rapidly across the country.
Waziri stated that the devastating impact of climate and global hazards that has caused damages around the world and in the country, had paved way for the Programme which was holding in other parts of the country to mitigate and create climate change adaptation.
“As we all know that the devastating impact of climate change and global warming is everywhere, particularly for us in Nigeria, we have seen a lot particularly this year where flood has ravaged 70 percent of the country, so this are some of the visible impact of climate change. As you know threat to climate anywhere is a threat to climate everywhere, so our efforts are there to ensure climate change adaptation and mitigation. And this aspect of irrigation pumps distribution is part of the intervention because the dwindling climate change can also bring about drought there we have to make deliberate attempts and create resilience in the farmers to boost food supply and security. This is a support to assist climate change adaptation.
“We are here as part of implementation of climate change adaptation, this is about improving agriculture and environment as well as making it private for farmers. This is a process that is ongoing, the partnership will hopefully continue and the size of the intervention will grow hopefully. We will still come back for feedback as in how the intervention has made impact in your various clusters because we want to see improvement and positive changes through this Programme as the will give the donors a boost to continue with the intervention.
“This is the FCT aspect of the intervention it is happening in other places too, Also doing this in here is also contributing to the other places affected by the floods. Gradually we will reach out to every part of the country and hopefully farmers will see the changes through the intervention,” he said.
He also encouraged the farmers to be honest with the practice and skills they have acquired and put in judicious use of the farming/ irrigation equipment given to them.
As part of intervention Programme, there was also the distribution of Twenty Five (25) Water irrigation pumps to the small holder farmers clusters who previously had received an intensive Post- training on modern irrigation techniques and activities to boost food supply and security in the country.