OGOJA(Water Resources’ Report) – In fulfillment of his determination to restructure the twelve River Basins in Nigeria, the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman H. Adamu, on Tuesday October 18, 2016, flagged-off the 5th Graduates/Youth Empowerment Scheme for rice production at the Ogoja Irrigation Project of the Cross River Basin Development Authority.
The Minister said that the Federal Government is committed to boost agricultural production in the country through all year farming that would guarantee Nigerian’s food security and achieve integrated rural development.
He noted that the country is blessed with 3.12 million hectares of potential land and if it is fully utilized, would lead to greater economic prosperity. ‘’Agriculture has the potential not only to feed the country, but also to provide the largest opportunity to create jobs’’
“Ministry of Water Resources through the RBDA has invested tremendously over the years in Dams and Irrigation facilities that can play a key role in boosting agricultural production,” he added.
The Governor of Cross River State, Senator (Prof) Ben Ayade represented by his Deputy, Prof Ivare Esu, commended the initiative of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources to achieving food security and returning Nigeria back to economic prosperity.
He thanked the President Muhammadu Buhari’s government for taking Agriculture to the front burner and promised to support the ministry through the Cross River Basin in achieving this laudable objective.
The Managing Director, Cross River Basin Development Authority, Mrs. Eta Eyo Ita, commended the minister for driving the process of diversifying the economy, adding that it would help the country to achieve economic independence.
Mrs. Eta noted that the emerging integrated farming activities will grow into a value chain system leading to agro allied processing industries similar to the Songhai Model.
She said that the Authority is taking the youth empowerment to another level by collaborating with the National Youth Service Corps scheme and other private stakeholders in the state with a view to training corps members in the area of fisheries, bottle water production and farm management. She therefore, called on the graduate farmers to see the initiative as an opportunity to exhibit their potentials in a productive way.
Ogoja Irrigation Project has an area of 168 hectares and it is designed for 125 hectares of irrigated agriculture. With about 211 farmers and 9 multipurpose Co-operative Societies cultivating varieties of produce ranging from; swamp rice, upland rice, maize, okro, groundnuts and assorted vegetables, the Project would without doubt contribute to the food security of the country.