The federal government has announced plans to deploy Integrated Agricultural Water Management Solution across Nigeria in a bid to cushion the effects of climate change and flooding.
According to the government, the initiative would first commence in three pilot states, which are Benue, Kogi and Anambra states.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, disclosed this in Abuja during a workshop on water management solution with the theme, ‘Turning tragedy to opportunity’.
Adesina stated that rapid and increased agro-meteorological centres should be established to ensure accurate prediction of rainfall and weather patterns for farmers.
He noted that the pilot project would be run through sustainable water management by creating the right infrastructural, institutional and financial environment for farmers to profitably engage in dry season agriculture.
Adesina said, “Addressing the challenge of climate change requires the use of modern tools of remote sensing and satellite imagery. Instead of general rainfall forecast, we should move to season rainfall forecasts which should be easily available on the mobile phones of farmers. Such forecasts will help with disaster planning.” The minister said the initiative became imperative considering the fact that farmers must be protected from negative impacts of climate change as this could be achieved with appropriate institutional risk management policies. He explained that adequate policies were needed to drive the agricultural water management solution in order to rapidly expand food production in Nigeria. Adesina said, “Farmers must be protected from negative impacts of climate change with appropriate institutional risk management policies, especially crop insurance and strategic grain reserves, which reduces risk exposure and vulnerability to food security shocks.”
He observed that water was the most limiting factor affecting food production and noted that efficiency in the use of water must be ensured.
He said, “To achieve this, we must focus on small scale water management system, not just the large scale irrigation schemes. These systems include large scale reservoirs, use of motorised pumps, community water diversions, and the use of inland waterways.”