By Aliyu Dangida
The Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Engr. Joseph Utsev has disclosed plans by the Federal Government to partially commercialize the river basins in the country in order to boost food production.
The Minister stated this when he led officials of the Ministry on inspection of the Tiga dam in Kano State.
Prof. Utsev said it is through the commercialization of the river basins that it can boost it optimal performance and food production in the nation.
The Minister also hinted that the Federal government will distill the dams in order to provide water supply for irrigation and commercial farmers to boost food production for both consumption and also export.
According to him, “It is very important, that is why we are going into partial commercialization of the river basins because that is the only way it will help boost the optimization of the river basins performance, boost the food production and food security of the nation and that is why doing this is very important”.
He added that, “We are in the Tiga dam which is located within the Hadejia Jama’are River Basin. It is constructed for multiple purposes. One is for irrigation purpose, control of flooding and for energy generation (hydro-power). Like I said, the purpose of this dam is to supply water to the farmers for their irrigation purposes and the commercial farmers that are interested in doing business with the government. The farmers will come to us, register with us and then we will give them the license to tap the water from the dam. And then use it for their own irrigation purposes. The essence of this is to boost agriculture and food production.
“So we are here to assess the performance and challenges of the dams to see areas where the tributaries and canals that needs to be distill. We would distill them and also encourage farmers to go into agriculture, to go into usage of this water so that they will at their own end use it for their irrigation purposes to boost food production commercially so that at the end the country at large will have enough food for both consumption and also export.
“The dam actually has some challenges which we are trying to look into. One of it is the fact there are some farmers that are tapping from the dam without our permission. So, we are trying to look into that and assessment is ongoing in order to capture these farmers and also register them. So by the time we register them and they are in our database, so we will now know that these tributaries and canals carrying water to their end can be controlled.
“So we will now know that this is the volume of people, partners that we are working with, so that the quantity of food that is leaving this particular region is also registered and can be given to the National Bureau of Statistics for Nigerians to know the quantity of food produced from this region,” the Minister, Prof. Utsev said.
Earlier speaking, the Managing Director of the Hadejia Jama’are River Basin Development Authority, Ma’amun Da:u Aliyu, explained that over 3 million farmers are benefiting from the Tiga Dam while hundreds of others illegally tap the dams.
He hinted that efforts were underway to register all those that are operating illegally so that the mission of the Federal Government and minister to utilize the dams would be achieved.
Aliyu noted that the Dam was built some 50 years ago and was constructed on 1.4 Billion cubic Water Capacity for some 5 Million combined Kano/Jigawa population but has not been fully utilized.