Ibrahim Shuaibu in Kano
The Kano State Government has disclosed that the State is losing N378 million annually to soil erosion under the Watari Irrigation project.
The State Deputy Governor, Dr Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna, told reporters yesterday in Kano during a media parley that: “There is the Watari Irrigation project that has been completed. It has 962 hectares out of which 40 per cent or 384 were unutilised before because of the dilapidation of the dam and infrastructure there. But because of this project, APPEALS project, it is fully utilized.
“There is also the renovation whereby the 150 hectares previously lost to soil erosion has been reclaimed. The estimated loss on the 150 hectares annually is up to N378 million.
“Currently, the Watari expansion stands at 1,000 hectares and approximately 4,000 farmers are to benefit directly. With the expansion, we have increased the land use of the Watari Irrigation site. Though it has been in use, we will formally Commission the project soon because it is a very important project,” Gawuna stated.
On the outcry by farmers in the State over closure of Tiga dam which they said had threatened their irrigation farming activities, the deputy governor said that work on the dam is expected to be completed by the middle of this year.
Mr Gawuna, who doubles as the State’s Commissioner of Agriculture and Natural Resources, said the dam was shut down to enable repairs to be carried out on the dam for full utilization and boosting of irrigation farming activities in the areas.
According to him, “We had to shut down the Tiga dam to enable repairs to be carried out. However, the shutting down of the dam was not done by the Kano State government but by the Hadejia Jama’are River Basin. The contract was awarded under them to carry out works on the dam.
“For all these years, we have been delaying the execution of the contract of renovation, restructuring and extension of the irrigation facility by a company called: “Transforming Irrigation Management in Nigeria, TRIMMING”. We have to allow them to shut down the water because they cannot carry out work on the dam with the water. It will lead to flooding, not only the farms but also peoples houses.
“But now, they are almost done. By the middle of this year, we are sure that Trimming will complete its work and it will be fully utilized. Government will come up with lots of activities to engage the farmers.
“The state is putting up its best because of the usage of our farmers. We have sat down with the management of the river basin so that we can talk.
“There is also part of the project where the state government is reconstructing a bridge because the one there is almost collapsing.
“When you go to Gafan, the area that they have finished, thousands of people are now benefitting from the project they have done in Bunkure,” he said.