‘Food self-sufficiency impossible without functional irrigation facilities’

Sprinkler irrigation

The Managing Director of the Lower Niger River Basin Development Authority, Dr Adeniyi Saheed Aremu, has called for more investments in irrigation facilities to ensure sustainable food production in the country.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of a week-long capacity building on irrigation farming, organised by the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Lower Niger River Basin Development Authority, Aremu said that given the ever increasing population in the country, the country could no longer depend on rain-fed agriculture to supply sufficient food.

“That is why it is important we build capacity for irrigation farming. We have the water, land and manpower to ensure all-year farming activities and in line with the next level action plan of the Federal Government, we are ready to ensure that Nigerians get involved in irrigation farming,” he said.

This, he said, would increase productivity as farmers would no longer be seasonal workers.

Aremu explained that the authority was moving towards automated irrigation farming.

“The world is ever changing and there is need to also change. In developed societies, automated irrigation is the norm, whereby from the comfort of your room, you can activate your irrigation facilities. And that is our focus at the Lower Niger River Basin Authority. We are actually moving from manual to automated irrigation,” he said.

While stressing the importance of irrigation farming to sustainable food production in the country, a consultant said, “Irrigation has been an important part of the agricultural intensification process and has historically played roles in transforming agriculture around the world.

“And one of the best ways of ensuring good security in any nation is to ensure the availability of food all-year, which is possible through irrigation farming system.”

The Chief Agricultural Officer, Commercial Agriculture and Training of the authority, Dr Olabisi Awoniyi, said agriculture is faced with different challenges and therefore, for the country to attain the desired food security, irrigation farming is a must.

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