Desmond Mgboh, Kano
The Kano State Agro Pastoral Development Project (KSADP) has earmarked the sum of N199, 584, 000 for the revival of Watari Dam and Irrigation Scheme as part of efforts to mitigate the impacts of COVID- 19 on food security and nutrition in the state.
The State Coordinator of the Project, Ibrahim Garba Muhammad, disclosed that the preliminary technical assessment of the dam, situated about 100 km Northeast of Kano city, was being conducted by a team of engineers and surveyors.
In a statement on Tuesday, he said that consultancy for the design and supervision of the work, as well as the development of additional land for irrigation, had been advertised.
‘The project will invest in the rehabilitation of the Watari canal and drainage, including the night reservoir to mitigate gully erosion that is threatening the dam embankment. More than 150 hectares of land damaged within the vicinity of the land will be reclaimed. Barring any eventuality, this work will start by October this year,’ he noted.
‘Also, 1000 hectares of land downstream will be developed, using gravity for irrigation for about 4,000 new farmers for rice, wheat and vegetable production,’ he added.
‘The project will also fund the rehabilitation of other irrigation facilities or the development of new irrigation schemes within the state, even as we will support smallholder farmers to access equipment for land preparation, harvest and post-harvest operations. This will sustainably increase production, yield and make crops residues and agro-industrial by-products more abundant for animals feeding.
‘We also realized that while the state is making effort to boost Rice production in Fadama, the utilization of rice straw is still minimal with most producers burning them to prepare the land for dry season farming.
‘However, since rice straw can be treated with urea and fed to livestock to achieve reasonable weight gains, the project will identify at least 1,000 unemployed youth, group them into 200 production hubs around irrigation schemes and support each group with grant/credit for machines and materials, to produce and sell rice straw/urea mix feed. This activity will by far increase the availability of crop residue for livestock in the state.’