Minister of Water Resources, Sarah Ochekpe
By Yemi Akinsuyi
The Federal Government has concluded plans to start training some graduates in fishery farming at the Gurara Reservoir located in Kaduna State to boost fish production and create employment for the unemployed graduates.
Minister of Water Resources, Sarah Ochekpe, stated this in Abuja at a recent media briefing prior to the 2012 World Water Day on March 22.
Ochekpe explained that the scheme tagged ‘Graduate Fishermen’ would be utilised to encourage young people to take agriculture as a profession.
The minister also said her ministry was developing a ‘Graduate Agriculture Scheme’ that would involve the engagement of some young people on irrigated infrastructure around the dams spread across the nation.
In her words: “Other Farmer Training Centres will be developed in other areas such as Bakolori Dam in Zamfara State, Ikere Gorge in Oyo State and Lower Anambra Irrigation in Anambra State. This scheme will involve training of thousands of young graduates in modern agricultural practices.”
Ochekpe observed with dismay that despite the fact that Nigeria has over 34 billion cubic metres of water which is capable of irrigating about 500,000 hectares of land, only 150,000 hectares has been developed.
She further stressed the need to develop the nation’s water resources to ensure that there is food security for the teeming populace, noting that agriculture should be developed in a modern way through well developed irrigation facilities such as construction of canals, dykes and other methods of water application.
World Water Day is held annually on March 22 as a means of focusing attention on the importance of fresh water and advocating for the sustainable management of fresh water resources. The theme of this year’s event was ‘Water and Food Security’.