The Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Prof. Joseph Terlumun Utsev, has inaugurated the Rafin-Yashi Irrigation Scheme, spanning over 28 hectares of land, and the Songhai Integrated Farm at the Upper Niger River Basin Development Authority to enhance irrigation farming and tackle food insecurity in the country.
He also inaugurated two reservoirs with over 700,000 and 1 million water storage capacities, respectively, for irrigation purposes.
The minister said one of the reservoirs would provide water to the Rafin-Yashi Irrigation Scheme, while the second would support the zero-waste Songhai Integrated Farm.
The Rafin Yashi Dam, which was also among the projects inaugurated, was said to be about 650,000 metres deep, and it helps prevent flooding in the nearby communities.
According to him, the dam, if completed, would serve multiple purposes, including power generation, stating that the irrigation scheme would help create jobs, restore the country’s economy, and increase food production, in line with President Tinubu’s new hope agenda.
“Last week, we inaugurated the high flag of 2023 dry season farming as a mandate given to the Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation to increase food production, and all hands must be on deck. It is not going to be business as usual.”
The minister urged the State Government to make its arable lands accessible to the Upper Niger River Basin Development Authority for irrigation purposes for the benefit of the state and Nigeria as a whole.
He added that the state government needs to invest in the creation of irrigation facilities and motivate citizens to do the same, saying that it was the only way food production would be increased in Nigeria.
“Food must be accessible to Nigerians, both for consumption and export. Aside from restoring the economy, it will also help improve the security of the country. So, we are doing this in all the 12 river basins that we have in Nigeria,” he added.