FG  Flags  Off   Dry Season Farming In Benue 

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By;  ARCHIBONG ESUENE, Makurdi

The Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Prof Joseph Utsev has said that the Federal Government  is targeting 500,000 hectares of  land in 2024 dry season  to boost food production in the country.

Performing the ceremony at Mbaku, Makurdi Local Council of Benue State, Prof Utsev said  President Bola Tinubu has directed that the ministry should put into use 500,000 hectares irrigation land in 2024.

Also, the minister disclosed that his ministry’s 12 basins across the country would be put into maximum use in 2024.

He also stated that most of the basins were partly commercialised for the purpose of boosting the country’s food production and economy.

According to him, the 1,500 hectares of land at the Lower Benue River Basin Development Authority Makurdi Farm located at Mbaku community would not be enough for the irrigation farming in 2024.

The minister while calling on investors to invest in the  country’s water sector, said, “we have put all the machineries in place to ensure that there is going to be no excuse that we are going to give rather than boosting agriculture in this country.

“We have gone into partial commercialisation of the 12 river basins in the country. We are now inviting investors to come in and partner with us. We are going to offer some incentives to farmers today, such as water pumps to boost their cultivation and also encourage them.

“So today, as we do symbolic planting of the crops, I want to urge the famers that we are ready to support them, work with them and help them to overcome their challenges, so that food would be available to all Nigerians,” he said. 

To ensure successful farming season, the minister said that the government would also provide improved seedlings and technical support to the famers.

In his welcome address, the Managing Director, Lower Benue River Basin Development Authority, Makurdi, Engr. Mohammed Adra, commended President Bola Tinubu for his vision and commitment in line with his Renewed Hope Agenda for Nigerians.

The minister during the visit, commissioned the Soil & Geographic Information System Laboratories of the Basin, Lessel Dam, presented certificates and distributed Starter Packs to the 5th Batch of graduands under the Graduates/Youths Empowerment Programme (GYEP) of the Federal Government.

New Nigerian reports that the minister also  inspected the Rice Mill, Songhai Model Farm, and distributed water pumps to some farmers and other inputs to the graduands.

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