Permanent Secretary, Bauchi State Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources Dr Dauda Abdullahi has said that harnessing the nationâ€™s irrigation potential was the key to its food security. Abdullahi, who said this in Bauchi, added that it would be difficult for the country to meet its food needs by depending on rainfall.
He said that farmers who planted after the first rains, might lose everything as their plants are withering due to the lack of rains. â€œThis has been the trend for the past few years as the effects of climate change continue to adversely affect the countryâ€™s agriculture sector.
With climate change, everything is uncertain. We can no longer determine when the rain will commence and when it will cease. The only way out is irrigation.
â€œWe really need to develop our irrigation system, if we intend to explore our agricultural potential,â€œ he said.
He said that embracing irrigation would improve the nationâ€™s agricultural output and conveniently feed the country. Abdullahi said that Bauchi State had 182,000 hectares of land suitable for irrigation, adding that so far, only 15,000 of that land was being explored.
â€œIf farmers do not adopt the use of irrigation systems, then the issue of food security will always remain a thorn in the flesh for the nation. Irrigation is the way to go. If we want to talk about serious agriculture, then farmers should embrace irrigation.â€
Abdullahi said that in a bid to encourage irrigation farming in the state, the Gov. Isa Yuguda led- administration was supporting farmer with subsidised inputs.
â€œThe state is providing farmers with subsidised irrigation water pumps, fertiliser, seeds, agro-chemicals and farm machinery services as well as agricultural extension services.â€
The permanent secretary said that this year, the state government approved the purchase of 60,000 bags of fertiliser to be sold to the farmers at N3,000 per bag, adding that distribution would soon commence. The Bauchi State Agricultural Development Programme (BASDP) is also providing training for dry season farmers in the state to equip them with the needed techniques to improve their efficiency.â€™â€™
Abdullahi called on dry season farmers to always seek professional advice from agricultural extension officers and other professionals to optimise their production potential.