The Kano State Agro Pastoral Development Project (KSADP) says it has earmarked about N200 million for the upgrade of Watari Dam to encourage irrigation activities.
The Project Coordinator, Mr Ibrahim Muhammad, disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday by Ameen Yassar, the Project Communication Specialist.
He said that preliminary technical assessment of the dam was being conducted by a team of engineers, while consultancy for the design and supervision of the work as well as development of additional land for irrigation has been advertised.
Muhammad said: “KSADP will invest in the rehabilitation of the canal, drains and reservoir to mitigate gully erosion threatening the embankment of the dam.
“More than 150 hectares of land damaged within the vicinity of the dam will be reclaimed. Barring any eventuality, the work will start by October this year.
“Also 1,000 hectares of land downstream will be developed using gravity for irrigation for about 4,000 new farmers for rice, wheat and vegetable production.”
Muhammad said that the project would also upgrade other irrigation facilities and development of new irrigation schemes in the state.
He explained that the project was designed to enhance farmer access to equipment for land clearing; harvest and post-harvest activities to encourage productivity.
The coordinator disclosed that the programme would also train 1,000 farmers on processing of rice straw for production of animal feeds.
“The project will identify 1,000 unemployed youths to be categorised into 200 production hubs around the irrigation schemes and support each group with credit facility for equipment to enable them produce and sell rice straw/urea mix feed.
“This activity will by far increase the availability of crop residue for livestock in the state,” he said.
According to him, KSADP in collaboration with the Sasakawa Global (SG 2000) would train thousands of rice and maize growers on enterprising skills and preservation technologies.
“All necessary paper work are completed; as soon as we obtain clearance from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), we shall commence an innovative, broad impact and capital intensive partnership with Sasakawa to boost food production in Kano.”
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that KSADP is being implemented in partnership between IDB and Kano State Government.
Watari Dam is located in Bagwai Local Government Area of the state, about 150km from Kano metropolis.