With the aim of tackling food insecurity, Joseph Terlumun Utsev, the minister of water resources and sanitation, has announced a series of initiatives to reshape Nigeria’s water and sanitation sector.
The minister made this announcement, during a two-day tour of the Lower Benue River Basin Development Authority(LBRBDA) from Tuesday to Thursday in Makurdi.
The new initiatives include, the Water for Expanded Irrigated Agriculture Programme (WEIRPRO), Partnership for Expanded Irrigation Programme (PEIRPRO) and River Basin Strategy for Poverty Alleviation (RB-SPA).
These initiatives aim to significantly improve irrigated agricultural sector, fortify food security, boost food production, fight hunger, generate employment and stimulate economic growth.
Utsev highlighted the ministry’s strategic dedication to innovative water resources management.
This commitment involves promoting integrated water resources and environmental sustainability, fostering partnerships with state governments and communities to boost agricultural productivity.
He stated that the focus is on transitioning from traditional methods to a scientific approach that ensures year-round farming, more frequent cropping cycles and increased crop yields.
The Minister stressed the adoption of advanced farming techniques to ease the burden on farmers and underscored the significance of community engagement for optimizing land use.
The minister charged the twelve River Basin Development Authorities(RBDAs) with the task of formulating comprehensive frameworks and strategies for implementing the new initiatives.
On the tour, the minister paid a visit to James Iorza Ayatse, the Tor Tiv (king of Tiv). He sought royal blessings and provided an update on the federal government’s intervention projects and programs.
These initiatives encompass water supply, dams, irrigation ,sanitation , flood and erosion control projects within the catchment areas of Benue, Plateau, Nasarawa and Kogi East senetorial districts, all under the responsibility of the LBRBDA.
The Tor Tiv expressed appreciation for government intervention projects and pledged support for the Open Defecation-Free: Use the Toilet Campaign.
The Minister commissioned the soil and GIS laboratories, conducted an inspection of the rice mill and Songhai farms.
In a ceremony at the LBRBDA headquarters in Markurdi, he presented certificates and starter packs to the 5th batch of the Graduate Youth Empowerment Program (GYEP) graduands, while also witnessing the induction of new entrants into the GYEP.
Further demonstrating the government’s commitment, the Minister distributed water pumps to representatives of Mbaku community and farmers of Lower Benue, Markurdi farms.
This act acknowledged the granting of 1,500 hectares of irrigable land to the federal government for crop cultivation.
Joseph Utsev was joined on the visit by AJ Ochigbo, the director of River Basin Operations and Inspectorate, Mohammed O. Adra, the managing director of LBRBDA, other directors from the ministry and distinguished individuals from Benue State.
Their presence not only underscored the significance of the occasion but also emphasized collaborative endeavors to propel agricultural and water resource development in the region.