12,000 farming families will benefit from the project when fully operational

The Federal Government has disclosed plans to establish Central Pivot Irrigation Systems in 10 different locations in the country, to boost agricultural activities and ensure food security.

Joe Kwanashie, the Director, Irrigation and Drainage Department in the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, made this known in Abuja on Monday.

The Central Pivot Irrigation Systems, otherwise known as Centre-Pivot Irrigation or Circle Irrigation, is a method of crop irrigation in which equipment rotates around a pivot and crops are watered with sprinklers.

It is an improved irrigation facility where a circular area centred on the pivot is irrigated often, creating a circular pattern in crops when viewed from above.

The facility, which is an upgrade of the open canal irrigation system, ensures effective water management.

Kwanashie said that the project, which was awarded by the late President Umar Yar?Adua’s administration at the cost of N5. 7 billion would be located in 10 states to cover an expanse of 3,000 hectares.

He said the states are Nasarawa, Kogi, Zamfara, Cross River, Benue, Kebbi, Adamawa, Kano, Bauchi and Taraba.

He explained that 12,000 farming families were expected to benefit from the project when fully operational.

In a separate interview, the Minister of Water Resources, Sarah Ochekpe, disclosed that already the ministry was expecting a consignment of 71 containers of the equipment for onward installation in the strategic locations.

“We have plans to install in 10 locations in five river basins. As a matter of fact, we are taking delivery of 71 containers of this equipment very soon in a few weeks. We are going to have them in place. Some part of it was delivered last year and the remaining part will be delivered soon and this will be installed in order to be used in our irrigation facilities,” she said.

Ochekpe, who reiterated the effectiveness of the pivot system in comparison with the open canal, said that farmers and river basin development authorities would record a boost in agricultural activities.

“The good thing about this system is that it helps in effective water management; it is an improvement on the open canal. With this system, you don?t have to use too much water and then you are able to irrigate a very large expanse of land. This particular system can irrigate as much as 40 hectares within the same period of time, so there is even distribution of water on the crops,” she said.

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