Favour Ishember, Abuja
As part of efforts to boost Agricultural Production in the FCT, the Secretary for Agriculture & Rural Development in the FCT, Mallam Abubakar Ibrahim has set up an Inter-Departmental Committee on Irrigation.
Stressed the need for farmers to be encouraged to engage in farming during the dry season, Abubakar stated that with the rising cost of food items and growing population, farming during the dry season will help not only bolster food production but will also make the prices more affordable for residents.
In his words ”The objective of setting up this Committee is to look into ways that we can support more farmers to engage in all year farming and not only during the dry season. The Committee will need to conduct a geographic assessment of the FCT in order to recommend support strategies through improvement of the irrigation systems”
Abubakar further disclosed that the FCT Administration has approved the procurement of some critical farm inputs such as Agro-chemicals as well as water pumping machines which will be sold to FCT farmers at 50% subsidized rates. “Our plan is to distribute some of the inputs we have procured during this dry season in February while we prepare for a major support for farmers on time before the commencement of rain in March.” Abubakar said.
The Committee he noted will be supported by the expertise of Agricultural engineers to ensure that the intervention of the Secretariat will meet required standards for durability and effective utilization. He charged the Committee to explore partnership with investors to support the initiative.
The Committee which is chaired by the Secretary, consists of membership from the technical departments of the Secretariat.
In a related development, the Director, Department of Agric Services of the Seretartiat, Mrs. Francisca Ihekandu has lead a team of private investors from G-Consulting International Limited interested in rice production to the Yaba community.
The visit to Yaba which is blessed with abundant waterbodies and suitable for rice production is to give the investors an opportunity to have a first-hand assessment with the view of adding value to rice production.
According to Mrs. Ihekandu, “Part of the responsibilities of the Committee is to showcase our potentials to attract potential investors and we have brought the team from G- Consulting in order for them to see for themselves what we have on ground here in Yaba and I want to assure you that with the support of well-meaning investors, FCT will be able to meet its food and nutrition needs and even beyond the FCT. At the moment we have began the process of collecting a database of rice farmers not just here in Yaba, but all the Area Councils to give us an idea of the specific areas of need of the farmers”
She commended the Secretary for conceiving the idea of setting up the Committee which she noted will reach out to Donor Agencies, Development Partners, Non-Governmental Organizations and other stakeholders to develop FCT irrigation potentials.