Okwe Obi, Abuja
The Federal Government in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), yesterday launched an $8 million water for agriculture project to deepen farmers and herders access to water in the North East region of the country.
The 3-year project aims to address the identified gaps and needs of the livestock herders and crop farmers in the region, as well as strengthen the resilience of farmer and herders.
USAID Mission Director, Stephen Haykin, while, speaking in Abuja said that the project will in-no- distant time boost the livelihood of both crops and livestock farmers in the conflict affected states.
“Water for agriculture will play a critical role in USAID strategy to develop new sustainable water sources in rural communities where displaced population are returning.
“It will also contribute to our promotion of agriculture led economic growth to improve resilience, nutrition and stronger governance of the water and sanitation sector”, he said.
Haykin further explained that the projects target at least 4,000 smallholder farmers and 50,000 livestock herders by constructing new earth dams and system for crop production and livestock watering.
He added that promoting access to water is critical at this time as farmers and herders access to water is increasingly threatened by climate change, inadequate investment, destruction of infrastructure, poor management practice and population growth.
Meanwhile, Representative of Catholic Relief Service (CRS), Ekramul Kabir, said the project aims to stimulate adequate and sustainable water supply for food and livestock production.
He said “The project also aim to enhance the capacity of target communities and local government institutions to manage, operate and maintain water infrastructure and sources”.
According to him, “the project is intended to be driven majorly on four components including; Improving access to water for smallholder farmers and livestock herders, strengthening agricultural productivity and production capability of farmers and herders.
“Others include; Enhancing the capacity of target communities to mitigate and m pin hurryanage conflict among farmers and herders.”