By Usman Gwadabe
Water has been released from Watari Dam in Kano State, to allow for continuation of irrigation activities within Bagwai and Bichi Local Government Areas and their environs.
It could be recalled that a few months ago, release of water from the dam was halted so that repair works could be carried out on the dam’s infrastructure without hindrance.
Kano State Agro Pastoral Development Project (KSADP) had awarded contract for the repair and rehabilitation of the Watari Irrigation Scheme to Messrs. Hajaig Nigeria Limited, for the sum of N315 million, as part of measures to enhance food security, rural development and poverty alleviation in the state.
The irrigation scheme, which is situated downstream of the Watari Dam has potential to irrigate 2, 600htrs and is used for both wet and dry season farmings of rice, wheat, legumes and vegetables.
Shortly before the water was released, in the presence of a huge crowd of joyous farmers, the state Project Coordinator of KSADP, Ibrahim Garba Muhammad explained that although barely 40 per cent of the repair works had been completed, it was imperative to release the water now since one critical component of the work, repair of the water canals and desalting of the night storage reservoir have been completed.
“It was a tough decision to stop release of the water at this material time because of the implication on the farmers whose livelihoods depends on this dam,” he said.
He noted that the work was going on speedily, acknowledging that the farming communities surrounding the dam have been participating in the renovation work from day one.
“Community participation is key to success of government policies and projects like this one. I am happy that you are involved in the work from what we have seen during our visits in the past,”he stated.
On his part, the Managing Director of Kano State Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (KNARDA), Dr. Junaid Yakubu Muhammad, who was impressed by the enthusiasm with which the farmers were, announced a donation of farm inputs including bags of fertilizer, bags of leguminous crops seeds, sprayers and other items to 100 selected farmers in the domain.
Dr. Muhammad said: “The gesture will motivate the farmers to strengthen their resolve in agriculture and importantly, to maintain support to the contractor handling the renovation of the dam, for speedy completion of the work.”
Expressing his gratitude on behalf of farmers, the chairman of the Watari Farmers Association, Malam Ibrahim Sani described the KSADP intervention as “a new lease of life for the farming communities in the domain.”
He stated that: “Our lives and the lives of our families depend on this dam. We do not know anything other than farming throughout the year.”
He then expressed appreciation to the state government, KSADP and the development partners funding the project for the intervention which he said would be a shining legacy in the state, as contained in a statement issued by Ameen K. Yassar, the KSADP’s Project Communication Specialist and made available to The Triumph, yesterday.