Professor Joseph Terlumun Utsev, the Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, inaugurated the Rafin-Yashi Irrigation Scheme, spanning 28 hectares, and the Songhai Integrated Farm at the Upper Niger River Basin Development Authority. These projects aim to enhance irrigation farming and address food security concerns in the nation.
Additionally, the minister launched two reservoirs with capacities of 700,000 and 1 million cubic meters, dedicated to irrigation. He highlighted the multifaceted benefits of the ongoing dam construction, emphasizing its potential for power generation. The irrigation scheme is expected to generate employment, rejuvenate the economy, and amplify food production in alignment with President Tinubu’s new hope agenda.
The minister stressed the urgency of collective efforts, citing the recent commissioning of the 2023 dry season farming as part of the ministry’s mandate to escalate food production. He urged the Niger State Government to allocate arable lands to the Upper Niger River Basin Development Authority for irrigation, emphasizing the need for the state to invest in irrigation facilities. This, he argued, is crucial for advancing food production, not only for the state but for the entire nation.
In advocating for food availability for both domestic consumption and export, the minister underscored the positive impact on the economy and national security. He revealed plans to replicate similar initiatives across all 12 river basins in Nigeria to fortify food production and economic resilience.
“Food must be available to Nigerians, both for consumption and export. Aside from boosting the economy, it will also help in reviving the security of the country. So, we are doing this in all the 12 river basins that we have in Nigeria,” he added.