By Salisu Sani-Idris
The Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation-Water Enabler Compact (TAAT-WEC) has trained 20,000 irrigation farmers in effective water management and soil water conservation technologies.
Prof. Henry Igbadun, former Programme Leader for Irrigation, Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Samaru, Zaria, said in Abuja on Thursday that the farmers were drawn from Kano, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Jigawa states.
He was speaking at a one-day stakeholders’ consultation on opportunities to promote efficient water management toward building resilience of small scale irrigation farmers.
Igbadun explained that the consultation was designed to share with government agencies, institutions and organisations what TAAT-WEC had done and to brainstorm together on how it could continue the project.
He said the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Colombo, which was implementing TAAT-WEC in seven African countries sought partnership with IAR to carry out its activities in Nigeria.
IWMI has offices across Africa and Asia.
Igbadun said the main objective of the project was to scale out proven technologies to manage water on the field, especially in irrigation and in dry areas to maximise rainwater harvesting for improved production.
“We demonstrated technologies which farmers are very much willing to practice; all they need is just to do little investment, but what is within their reach they are ready to practice.
“Technology has been able to cut down the way water is used in the field. For example, we introduced a pipe system to convey water to farmers ‘fields different from the ways they pump water into the fields.
“The field that normally takes two days to irrigate can now be irrigated within 10 hours. One hectare-field is irrigated by that system, he said.
Igbadun added that the TAAT-WEC works with 180 farmers directly on the field.
“We have 80 farmers in Kano, about 50 in Nasarawa, 20 in Kaduna and Jigawa states each.
“Aside of that, we have field days in which more than 1,000 farmers across the project-implementing states have attended. We had pre-season training where about 500 farmers attended.
“If we put together all our field visits, farmers field days and all that we been able to organise, more than 3,000 farmers have participated.
“By and large, we could say that we have been able to reach about 15,000 farmers to 20,000 farmers,’’ he said.
He added that the project targets three crops – wheat, rice and sorghum under irrigation, then sorghum millet under rain water harvesting.
Igbadun also said that the project focused on youths because technology could motivate youths into agriculture.
“We gave them training alongside extension workers. This is what we did for three years in these locations and our project is rounding up.
“What usually excites me each time I talk about the system is that a youth farmer remarked that he could now go to the field well-dressed and proceed to a wedding thereafter,’’ he said.
Earlier, Mr Oklo Jonathan, a Field Officer for the project in Nasarawa State, said the project had achieved a lot by getting the attention of youths to realise the potential of irrigation in agriculture.
Also, Shu’aibu Jafar, a Field Officer from Kano State, said the innovation had minimised the cost of production for all irrigation farmers that embraced the techniques. (NAN)