Katsina state government is doing everything possible to ensure an all- year- round agriculture as it takes deliberate steps to revamp some abandoned dam projects in the state. HAMIDU SABO writes.
In Katsina state, there are three major water bodies that have been lying idle for a while. This includes the Jibia, Zobe and Sabke Dams which have huge volume of water. Following the completion of Zobe and Jibia out of the dams, the other has been idle for a long time.
Interestingly, the three dams belong to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources; therefore that made it difficult for the state government to ensure full utilisation of those water bodies for the dry season farming, a situation which forced the teeming farmers in the state to resort to using earth dams constructed by government for irrigation. However, this often causes problems here and there, perhaps, due to the inability of the dams to retain water all year round.
Moreover, such earth dams do not allow for cultivation of more irrigable lands as the methods of channeling water to the sites are usually done manually in such a way that the end products do not exceed the needs of the local farmers since not much of the produce remain for sale to earn some income.
As a matter of fact the administration of late President Umar Yar’adua then governor of the state between 1999 and 2007 had made several follow-ups to ensure full take-off of the three dams by the federal authorities but all to no avail.
However, hope came recently, when the minister of Water Resources, Sulaiman Adamu Kazaure, led a team to visit the Jibia, Zobe and Sabke dams in order to identify areas of intervention by the federal government since the three dams belong to it.
Interestingly too, during the ministers visit to the state, he took time off to call on Governor Aminu Masari, where he reiterated the determination and commitment of the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in making full utilisation of all major water bodies as agriculture remains part of the administration’s policies.
“My visit today is in reaffirming the federal government’s determination to make maximum utilization of these abandoned dams for the benefit of the people,” he said.
When Masari flagged off the project
That apart, recently the state government flagged off the year 2018/19 dry season farming and sales of fertilisers to farmers in the state. The flag-off was carried out at the Jibia Dam where Governor Masari, again, spelt out strategies his administration intends to adopt to make irrigation a major source of revenue earner to teeming farmers in the state.
At the launch, Masari revealed that the state government is making efforts to ensure that farmers are massively engaged in all-year round agricultural production, saying the focal points include provision of agricultural inputs at subsidised prices, farmers’ mobilisation through agricultural extension activities and development of irrigation facilities.
“Similarly, the government is pursuing the development of satellite farm settlements across the state that will produce a new class of farmers who will integrate all facets of agriculture and as a mark of commitment towards realising that objective of the government.”
From January 2018 to date, the state government has executed various projects and implemented series of policies and programmes under the watch of the deputy governor, Alh Mannir Yakubu, who is also the commissioner for Agriculture.
Blueprint findings revealed that the state government has accorded much priority to irrigation farming across the state. As an agrarian state, farmers across the state engage in all year farming activities with the much-needed support of the state government. The sum of N10,480,024.00 was, therefore, expended for rehabilitation of Ruwan Sanyi Dam while the sum of N47,707,743.97 was released for the construction of new irrigation schemes at Gwaigwaye, Takatsaba, Tsanni, Masabil and Tsabu and the sum of N19,958,922.97 was released for rehabilitation of Tafoki, Dutsin Kura, Bakori Gochi and Kwanar Are irrigation schemes. On the other hand, the sum of N66, 240,000.00 was provided as state government intervention fund for Jibia Dam.
More so, some irrigation project with six irrigation pumps and accessories worth about N18, 000,000.00 were purchased. In addition, within the period under review, fertilisers worth about N3, 640,000,000.00 were procured and distributed to farmers across the state.
Again, the record indicated that just recently, the government awarded contract for the supply of 15 irrigation pumps at the cost of N75 million naira to be delivered within a period of six weeks. That move was part of the administration’s effort to promote self-reliance among the teeming populace in the state.
In a nutshell, the emphasis of the present state administration of Governor Masari as enunciated by him at different fora is to focus more on development of irrigated agriculture to ensure reduction of poverty among its citizenry.
More interestingly, the ‘Restoration Programme’ of the present administration has put much emphasis on the provision of potable water for both human and animal consumption. One of the major problems that hinder adequate supply of water across the state is inadequate supply of electricity. To address the problem, the state government introduced the procurement and distribution of diesel to all water works and semi urban water schemes in the state. From January, 2018 to date, the government has procured and distributed a total of 1,273,700 litres at the total cost of N299, 645,000.00.
Similarly, the state government awarded contract for the construction of Danja Dam and Access Road at the cost of N7, 937,649,726.00. The project is recording progress in its execution. The contract for procurement and installation of electro-mechanical equipment for new pump house at Ajiwa Water Treatment Plant was awarded at the cost of N578, 007,182.77. The project has reached execution stage while the contract for and installation of 1No. KSB Vertically Driven Pump, Butterfly and Non-return valve at Ajiwa Old Pumping Station awarded at the cost of N97, 162,635.00 has been completed. Also, the contract for the supply of additional one has been awarded in order to complete the rehabilitation of Old Pumping Station at the cost of about N97, 000,000.00. The contractor has been paid 40% material advance.
In addition, the contract for rehabilitation of Rimi semi urban water supply scheme was awarded at the cost of N71, 315,475.00 and that of rehabilitation of Matazu Semi urban water supply scheme was awarded at the cost of N88, 835,838.79, while the construction of semi urban water supply in Muduru has been awarded to the tune of N141m. All the projects are at various stages of execution.
That is not surprising because most developed societies depend on irrigation to earn revenue through production of both food and cash crops in large quantity, therefore the strategy the state government employs to boost irrigation will in no distant future create a self-reliant society in food production and economic self-independence.