A national project aimed at tackling the growing challenge of food security across Nigeria, whilst also reducing agricultural carbon emissions, has launched this month. This ambitious venture brings together governmental bodies, local partners and farming communities, and is designed to support year-round vegetable growing through the introduction of innovative technologies.
Accessing water for irrigation is a common barrier faced by smallholders and one of the main reasons for seasonal crop growing. To overcome this challenge, the NREA has procured solar irrigation pumps to provide free and reliable irrigation water to crops throughout the dry season.
The solar pumps, manufactured by British-Indian company, Futurepump, are specifically designed for use on farms of up to 2-acre in size. Enabling the use of renewable energy for irrigation means farmers can expand their cultivated area and grow through the dry seasons, without the reliance on expensive and polluting fossil fuels.
The project is already underway and will issue about 1,600 solar pumps to rural smallholders over the 2022 budget year. These solar pumps are being delivered nationally across all six geo-political zones to farmers selected through the FADAMA program. To be eligible for a solar pump, farmers must meet selection criteria around farm size, crops grown and have a water source suitable for a surface pump.
At one event where solar pumps were presented to farming groups, Mr Samuel Dapel of the Plateau state FADAMA office had this to say, ‘I can now say that agriculture has moved from the traditional to modern agriculture, and we sincerely appreciate you for this effort.’
With 20% of Nigeria’s population engaged in small-scale farming and food insecurity becoming a national emergency, there must be an ongoing drive to increase the productivity of agricultural land. If successful, the 2022 phase of the project will set a roadmap for future and ongoing rural farmer support.
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