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September 07, 2008

Nigeria to expand 38 irrigation projects country-wide

Nigeria's Federal Government said it has concluded plans to expand farmimg activities in 38 irrigation projects across the country this year.

A Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources official told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the expansion would cover more than 25,000 hectares. He said 23 states in the six geo-political zones would benefit from the expansion and listed them to include Balyelsa, Kogi, Ebonyi, Cross River, Benue, Abia and Enugu. Others are Nasarawa, Akwa Ibom, Ogun, Ekiti, Imo, Gombe, Borno, Taraba, Bauchi, Sokoto, Edo, Delta, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi and Adamawa.

The official said that the projects would be embarked upon in partnership with the state governments. ''Some of these projects are ongoing; we want to develop additional land of more than 1.2 million hectares by 2020. ''It is important we start by putting what is in existence into use,'' he said.

According to the official, the Federal Government will focus more on the development of small and medium irrigation projects. ''The idea is for easy management by farmers. It will be easier for farmers to manage 100 or 200 hectares than 1,000 hectares that require complex management. ''We are looking at community-based irrigation schemes to enable us to carry all the stakeholders along in achieving greater results,'' he said.

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