December 24, 2020Agric DigestNewsTrending
CONCERNED by the debilitating effect of food insecurity in Nigeria, the Benin-Owena River Basin Development Authority (BORBDA) said it had commenced the process of reviving over 2000 hectares of farmland in Owena dam in Igbaraoke in Ifedore local government area of Ondo State.
The Managing Director of BORBDA, Mr Saliu Ahmed, who disclosed this during a tour by the member of the BORBDA board and Management, said the initiative was aimed to revamp the agricultural sector in Nigeria and boost food security.
He disclosed that over 100 farmers had applied for the land including some farmers who had been using the land for farming.
According to him, the Authority would empower the farmers by helping to carryout dry season farming, saying that BORBDA would set up irrigation facilities in the farms as from next dry season saying there would be supply of water all year round on the farms.
He disclosed that apart from generating income for the Authority through the rents, he added it would also help to reduce challenges of the food security in the country.
Ahmed said “what Benin Owena River Basin has started to do is to clear farmlands that can off take water from the impounded reservoir for all year round agricultural productivity.
“We are starting off with 70 hectares and we already had facilities in place to install 50 hectares of irrigation. So once the clearing is done we are going to start setting up the irrigation facilities and from next dry season we can farm there all year round
“For the Authority, we would generate income from those who will use the facilities and we will also generate income from those who farm on the land because we are going to charge a token on every land and will also be able to give mechanization services to all farmers.
“But above all we will be contributing to our national food security for the fact that people will be farming here all year round and the economy of the people will be greatly enhanced because of that opportunity”
He disclosed further that “We have applications for over 2000 hectares of land already and a number of farmers are currently farming here but the challenge had been that most of the lands they are using are not cleared and for best productivity, you need to open up the land.
“Already we have applications for over 2000 hectares and over 100 farmers had applied and I can assure you that once we complete the clearance of this land it will be completely taken up”
Speaking on the visit to the Owena dam, he said the board was there on oversight visits to inspect the facilities at the Owena multipurpose dam.
According to him, “the dam has the facilities to provide raw water which if treated you can extend potable water as far as Akure, Ondo, Owo, Idanre and all the communities around them, as well as irrigate over 3000 hectares of farmlands.
“It also has the capacity to provide small hydropower up to about 1.5 megawatts which can also electrify all the communities around.
“So what we have seen here today is the treatment plant which was built over ten years ago by the Federal government to support the effort of the Ondo state government and the dam is still very stable, there is no any threatening slippage.
“We are happy to learn that Ondo state government has now taken the first steps in securing the African Development Bank loan that will get them to lay the main distribution line to take the water out of this treatment plants, and we can’t wait for that to start”
He stated further that “the incident of Covid has shown us that water is playing a very greater role in our lives, sanitation is emphasized, potable water access is also greatly emphasized. If this project is successfully completed as conceived over several years ago
“It will make a great deal of impact in life of the people of this state and above all the Ondo state government will generate a lot of income as well. The supply of water into the communities is not going to be free, people would pay for the service and the Water Corporation would be busy
The Board Chairman who led other members to the dam, Alhaji Ali Olanusi, the board was happy about the development at the dam saying that “we can notice a lot of improvements and we pray that the state government could fulfill their own obligations by providing reticulation to complete the water project
The problem of water will be a thing of the past. I am sure that if the state can play its own part, water supply will be to every part and communities in the central senatorial district. It will serve Ondo, Akure, Idanre, and Owo
He frowned over the attitude of past leaders in abandoning the water project attributing it to their unpatriotic attitude, saying “reticulation of the water has been abandoned for over ten years. The state government supposed to handle the reticulation after the federal government constructed this dam”