The Federal Ministry of Water Resources says it will require no less that N32 billion to meet the target of 100,000 hectares of irrigated agriculture in the 2017 budget.
The Director, Irrigation and Drainage in the ministry, disclosed this on Thursday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, (NAN) in Abuja.
He said there was a shortfall already in the 2017 budget for irrigation purposes.
According to him, the shortfall is one of the challenges that may affect the implementation of all projects listed in the Ministry’s strategic plan.
He said that, “although, there are promises from extra budgetary funding, it was however important that intervention funds be available to close the gaps.
“We need additional N32 billion to meet the target, so that, if we inject these funds into the irrigation schemes, we will be able to meet up.
“If we do it this year and also do something corresponding to that next year, we will be able to meet up with the target of adding additional 100, 000 hectares.
“This is because we can’t fund these budgets from normal appropriation, we need intervention funds, and the Presidency is encouraging us.
“If we have to develop 100,000 hectares, we cannot rely on normal budgetary provisions, we had made this request last year, and we have positive response,” he said.
Offie said the ministry was assessing the cash flows and the specific amount required to develop additional hectares to avoid the mistakes of the previous administrations.
He said that developing irrigation farming was paramount for meeting the target goals of food security and job creation.
He said that agriculture cannot rely on raid-fed agriculture, saying with developed irrigation practices, Nigeria could supplement, thereby helping farmers to develop their crops.
He said that Nigeria is blessed with a weather that could promote three cropping season in a year, adding that with well-developed agriculture, employment would be created.
Offie said the ministry has realised that, if the nation must attain food security, it must embark on deliberate measures to encourage irrigation farming.
He said that rain water dependence would not meet the needs of agriculture, especially in the Northern states, saying the season was usually short with little water collection. (NAN)