By Musa Sunusi Ahmad
The Federal Government has approached the Nasarawa State Government, with a view to accessing 100, 000 hectares of land for rice cultivation.
Nasarawa State Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, disclosed this while playing host to the Managing Director of the Lower Benue River Basin Development Authority, Engineer Muhammad Addra, who led a delegation on a courtesy call at the Government House, on Tuesday.
Engineer Sule disclosed that officials of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, approached him Monday night, seeking the state government to provide access to one hundred thousand hectares of land, to be fully funded for the cultivation of land.
To this end, the Governor requested the Lower Benue River Basin Development Authority, to set aside the required land in one of its project sites located in Tide, Akwanga Local Government Area for this purpose.
Engineer Sule recalled that the LBRBDA has over two hundred thousand fallow land in Tide, stressing that the state government will utilize a portion of that land for the purpose of rice cultivation funded by the Federal Government.
“Just yesterday night, they called me from Abuja, they are looking for a hundred thousand hectares in Nasarawa State.
“The FG will fund it 100 percent for rice production. If there is more land in Tide, they will provide the funding, for the clearing, land development and provide the seed.
The Governor expressed the desire of his administration to even facilitate the take-off of the project by clearing the land in Tide.
Commenting on the purpose of the visit, Engineer Sule appreciated the Managing Director and his team, for initiating a scheme that will bring an end to the prolonged inability of the LBRDA to fully utilize the Doma Dam for irrigation agriculture.
While appreciating the management of the agency for resolving to exploit flood irrigation, as against the sprinkler or drip irrigation systems earlier adopted, the Governor pointed out the two systems of irrigation earlier chosen are most expensive and unsuitable for use at the Doma Dam.
“They are not good for us because the equipment can easily be vandalized. It does not make any sense to go into a sprinkler or drip irrigation system.
“You have chosen the right method, the flood irrigation is your best irrigation. It’s cheaper, it’s better for us. Just create your primary and secondary canals and there is water,” he stated.
The Governor promised that his administration will support the agency in its bid to convert the sprinkler system to flood irrigation, especially that the state government has acquired 500 hectares of land for its youth empowerment scheme in agriculture at the Doma Dam.
Engineer Sule used the opportunity of the visit to congratulate the Managing Director, as well as executive directors at the agency, on their recent reappointment by President Muhammadu Buhari, stressing that the reappointment of Engineer Addra as MD of the LBRDA didn’t come as a surprise because of his commitment and the good work he has continued to do at the agency.
Earlier, in his opening remarks, the MD of the LBRBDA, Engineer Muhammad Addra, said they were at the Government House, to update the Governor on new initiatives being considered by the agency, in its bid to resuscitate irrigation agriculture at the Doma Dam commissioned over 30 years ago.
According to the MD, having realized that the present existing system, may not be realistic and sustainable, the agency has decided to embark on conversion in some aspects of its operations.
He disclosed that the LBRDA is presently engaged in converting the sprinkler system earlier in place at the Doma Dam, to flood irrigation.
The MD sought the support of the state government to convert a portion of the land for flood irrigation, which is cheaper.
Engineer Addra used the opportunity of the courtesy call to thank the Governor for the role he played in his recent reappointment to head the LBRBDA.