The Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, has urged relevant stakeholders to shift from traditional and unregulated irrigation practices to sustainable land and water use management approach.
Adamu said this virtually at the ongoing meeting of the National Irrigation Forum on Institutional Strengthening and Management of Public Irrigation Schemes in Nigeria and the Annual General Meeting in Ibadan, Oyo State, on Tuesday, May 31, 2022.
The meeting is organised by the Nigeria National Committee on Irrigation and Drainage (NINCID).
According to him, Nigeria is endowed with water resources but its sustainability is threatened by land degradation, deforestation, rapid population growth and other social-economic development including the effect of climate change.
He said that these myriad of challenges could be halted through stimulation, promotion of development, application of arts, science and techniques of engineering, agriculture and economics.
He further said that ecology and social science in managing water and land resources for irrigation, drainage, flood control and river training alongside related research would go a long way toward changing poor narratives.
The minister said it was expected that NINCID members would deliberate, share ideas, knowledge and experiences on how to advance irrigation and drainage practices in Nigeria.
He however, urged participants to come out with resolutions that would further consolidate irrigation practice for attainment of sustainable irrigation and water management in the country.
In her opening remarks, the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mrs Didi Walson-Jack, said virtually that NINCID, as a knowledge-based sharing platform, was dedicated to improving the status of irrigated agriculture and management.
This, she noted included rain-fed agriculture driven by experts, contributions for the development and acceleration of irrigation as well as drainage practices in Nigeria.
Jack said that NINCID had established the Young Professional Forum with members drawn from the Ministry of Water Resources, River Basin Development Authorities and the National Water Resources Institute.
“I am optimistic that the committee will discuss ways and means of strengthening the Young Professionals Forum and suggest options for its sustainability; and also generate resolutions that will reposition NINCID to operate optimally,’’ she said.
Also, NINCID Chairperson, Mrs Oyeronke Oluniyi, recalled that the committee was a subsidiary of International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage, dedicated to the improvement of water and land management.
Oluniyi, also the Director, Irrigation and Drainage, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, said that this would also enhance worldwide supply of food and fiber for humankind.
She urged members to participate maximally and develop sustainable ways of ensuring that NINCID activities expanded in more beneficial ways.
Directors of Irrigation, Country Representatives, retired Irrigation Directors, members of the Academia and other water resources stakeholders were present at the meeting.
By Tosin Kolade