The Kano State Agro- Pastoral Development Project has designated approximately N200 million for upgrades to Watari Dam in Bagwai Local Government Area aimed at enhancing irrigation activities and encouraging the mass production of staple crops in the state.
Malam Ibrahim Garba Muhammad, the state project coordinator, disclosed this while speaking with journalists on the plans, he noted that a preliminary technical assessment of the dam, situated about 100 km north-east of Kano, is being conducted by a team of engineers and surveyors.
He further announced that consultancy for the design and supervision of the work, as well as the development of additional land for irrigation, has been advertised in the dailies.
Irrigation helps to reduce the risk of crop damage from water shortages in the wet season and expand cropping area in the dry season. It has played a major role in increasing the yields of crops like rice, vegetables, and sugar cane, as well as certain cash crops.
According to Muhammed, the project will cut across the rehabilitation of the Watari Canal and drainages, including the night reservoir, to tackle gully erosion threatening the dam embankment.
“More than 150 hectares of land damaged within the vicinity of the land will be reclaimed. Barring any eventuality, this work will start by October, this year.”
“Also, 1000 hectares of land downstream will be developed, using gravity for irrigation for about 4,000 new farmers for rice, wheat and vegetable production,”. Muhammed stated.
Moreover, he explained that the project will identify at least 1,000 unemployed youths, group them into 200 production hubs around irrigation schemes and support each group with grant or /credit funding for machines and materials, enabling them to produce and sell a rice straw-/urea mix feed. Rice straw can be treated with urea and fed to livestock to achieve reasonable weight gains.