The Graduate in Irrigated Agriculture Schemes (GIAS) Programme has been officially flagged off in Kadawa Integrated farm in Kano State, North-West Nigeria.
The scheme is an empowerment initiative by the Nigerian Government whereby selected participant in batches of 50 will be trained in various agricultural activities including crop farming, aquaculture, dairy farming, animal husbandry for food processing and other sustainable agricultural activities to increase food production and supply in the country.
Nigeria’s Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adam while speaking at the flag-off ceremony said that successful beneficiaries would subsequently be empowered through other government intervention programmes to establish their own Agric-ventures and in turn become trainers.
Adamu also noted that Nigeria has largely been dependent on crude oil for decades adding that the country needs to diversify its economy through productive activities like irrigated agriculture .
He said, “ less than 10% of 3.12 million hectares potential of irrigable land is being developed and utilized, and I have no doubt that the step we are taking are timely and appropriate under the situation nation find itself today, and will eventually lead Nigeria to greater economic prosperity”.
The developed irrigation schemes provide direct job to 55,810 farmers while indirect jobs are created for 781,430 people annually.
The Managing Director, Hadejia-Jama’are River Basin Development Authority (HJRBDA) , Senator Mas’ud Doguwa, said the programme will generate employment for the youth and guarantee food security.
“Agriculture in particular, has the potential to not only boost our ability to feed ourselves, but also provides the largest opportunity to create jobs for our teeming young population”.
The Hadejia Jama’are River Basin Development Authority ( HJRBDA) oversees the Jama’are basin covering 4,500 square kilometers of land with irrigation potential of 2,400 hectares of which 22,324 hectares is developed for irrigation.
Yusfu Adbulahi who is a computer science graduate from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria commended the government for the initiative adding that ” because of the current situation in Nigeria, a lot of graduates are just sitting at home jobless, but with this any graduate who is serious to make a living should go into farming and stop depending on government for jobs.
A total of 54 graduated have participated and have graduated under the pilot scheme
The flag-off in Kano makes it the fourth Scheme flagged off by the present administration in the country.