Inadequate irrigation facilities in the southern region of the country have been identified by Ernest Afolabi Umakhihe, the Permanent Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, as the cause behind the lack of farming activities during the dry season. Umakhihe revealed this during an event held in Benin City, where he was honoured by the Edo State chapter of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) as the esteemed Grand Patron and also presented with the prestigious Great Achiever award.
He explained that the implementation of an irrigation system led to prosperous farming practices in the northern region of the nation. However, in the southern part, the absence of such a system became apparent. Moreover, he emphasised the significance of mechanised farming and stated that the era of relying solely on manual tools like hoes and cutlasses has subsided. He added that by embracing mechanised farming, ample employment opportunities could be generated for the younger generation.
Irrigation and mechanised farming practices should be encouraged.
Continuous farming throughout the year is achievable in rural areas by simply attaining a mechanism. The key requirement for successful farming is an ample supply of water, which the Southern region possesses abundantly in the form of numerous water bodies. Coupled with favourable climatic conditions and fertile arable land, the South presents an ideal environment for year-round cultivation. By implementing an effective irrigation system, any crop can flourish, ensuring a bountiful harvest and enabling sustained agricultural activities throughout the year.
In his commitment to consistently back farmers in the region and boost food production, he elaborated on various agricultural initiatives that have been implemented to aid farmers. These initiatives encompass the construction of rural roads, installation of street lights, as well as empowerment programs targeted towards both farmers and the youth community, among several others. Promoting the implementation of irrigation agriculture and integrating mechanised farming practices have the potential to magnify agricultural output, concurrently inspiring and empowering the younger generation to embrace the world of farming.
Ensuring food security requires vital measures that aid farmers’ efforts.
Bako Dogwo, the chairman of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) in Edo State, expressed the association’s admiration for the permanent secretary by bestowing upon him the esteemed Grand Patron and Great Achievers awards. These accolades were in recognition of his significant contributions to the agricultural progress of the nation, particularly within their state. It is worth praising the federal government’s unwavering dedication to aiding and uplifting the farmers in Edo State. Ensuring food security in the country requires implementing vital measures that aid and enhance farmers’ efforts while boosting food production.
On the other hand, the federal government revealed that Nigeria possesses a vast amount of irrigation land, amounting to about 3.14 million hectares. However, the current development of irrigated areas within the country totals only 169,718 hectares. Consequently, this signifies that the existing irrigated area in Nigeria accounts for a mere 5.4% while a substantial 94%, which is equivalent to 2.97 million hectares of farmland, remains without irrigation nationwide. The act of irrigation consists of providing water to both land and crops with the intention of fostering growth, usually achieved through the use of channel systems.
Lack of investment in agriculture is a leading cause.
Nigeria agricultural sector falls short of its promised potential. With an over-reliance on rainfed farming, a significant number of Nigerians endure persistent hardships in terms of food security and poverty. One contributing factor to this dire situation is the chronic lack of agricultural investment. Nigeria must revolutionise its agricultural practices to achieve substantial and lasting progress, beginning from the very foundations. The absence of adequate irrigation facilities renders farmers and food-insecure communities defenceless against the erratic and shifting climate patterns.