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Training, empowerment of water users key to sustainable irrigated agriculture-TRIMING Cordinator

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For Nigeria to meet its target of promoting food security through irrigated agriculture, training and continued empowerment of Water Users Associations are important, the Transforming Irrigation Management in Nigeria (TRIMING), says.

TRIMING’s Deputy National Project Coodinator, Mr Kehinde Sunmonu, told the Nigeria News Agency on Tuesday that irrigated agriculture needed to be managed sustainably with active participation of Water Users Associations.

Sunmonu said that Nigeria could not continue to rely on old methods to expect a change in the river basins activities, adding that they were the vehicles to halt dependence on rain-fed agriculture.

According to him, TRIMING is training and empowering farmers on what to do to ensure that they make the system work and link them to off takers.

He said this would go a long way to reduce the challenges of getting buyers for agricultural goods, reduce the challenge of post harvest losses and the overall value chain addition.

He said with the development of Water Users Association, advocacy and sensitisation, TRIMING had seen that training and empowerment of farmers in roles and responsibilities were key to sustainable development of the irrigation management in the country.

According to him, the need for bye laws and responsibilities at all tiers will go a long way to make the schemes work and promote water availability for farmers.

He said TRIMING has sought grants from the Federal Government to sustain its schemes and there were modalities already in place to promote transparency and efficiency when operational.

“What TRIMING is doing now is supporting the schemes through rehabilitation and given a takeoff grant in the first year, in the second year it reduces, because the time you will need the money for farm operation, you may see that you don’t have any money and someone has to fund it.

“By the time you have your harvest and you have gone to the market, you are supposed to have some money, but the second year, you can now use the money set aside for operation and maintenance.”

TRIMING is a four-year project of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources supported by the World Bank to improve access to irrigation services, increase crop yield and improve access to finance for Nigerian farmers in five schemes.

They are Bakolori Scheme in Zamfara, Middle Rima Valley Irrigation scheme in Sokoto, Kano River Irrigation scheme in Kano, Hadejia Valley Irrigation scheme in Jigawa and Dadin Kowa Irrigation scheme in Gombe state.

Edited Grace Yussuf

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