By Asmau Ahmad
The World Bank announced its commitment to reposition Nigeria’s irrigation farming for sustainable economic development and for food security on Thursday in Abuja.
It announced the commitment when its team on Sustainable Power and Irrigation in Nigeria/ Transforming Irrigation Management in Nigeria, (SPIN/TRIMING) project officials visited the Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Prof. Joseph Utsev.
The officials led by the Team Lead, Mr Jun Matsumoto, acknowledged the successful transformation of irrigation asset management in Nigeria through the establishment of water users’ associations.
He noted the pivotal role played by the associations in ensuring the sustainable management of irrigation resources and called for support in achieving the project’s objectives.
He emphasised the critical importance of collaboration in the upcoming SPIN project and elaborated on its core objectives.
Mr Matsumoto said one of the objectives was the utilisation of existing water resources infrastructure to address Nigeria’s water resources and energy requirements.
He said the project would include comprehensive technical assistance studies focused on large-scale water resources management, and the development of multi-purpose dam hydropower projects.
Responding, Prof. Utsev said achievements already recorded in Nigeria’s TRIMING project was impressive.
He emphasised the integral connection between economic sustainability and food security underlining the TRIMING project’s pivotal role in enhancing food production.
The minister welcomed the proposal to replace TRIMING, set to expire in 2024, with SPIN, saying it would address Nigeria’s pressing challenges in the area of food sufficiency.
Prof. Utsev reaffirmed Federal Government’s commitment to food security, improved irrigation techniques, and enhanced farming practices across the country.
He expressed gratitude to the World Bank for the remarkable progress recorded on the project over the past nine years and expressed optimism that it would yield even more significant outcomes.
TRIMING strengthened quality of and access to productivity-enhancing and market access services for 130,000 farmers in four rehabilitated irrigation schemes.
They are the Bakolori Irrigation Scheme in Zamfara, Middle Rima Irrigation Scheme in Sokoto State, Kano River Irrigation Scheme, and Hadejia Valley Irrigation Scheme in Jigawa.
The project provides technical assistance to establish a Farmers’ Management Centre at each of the irrigation schemes.