Katsina relocates displaced farmers, families to irrigation facilities

The Katsina State government has revived its irrigation schemes to enable displaced farmers in parts of the area continue their work without molestation.

A number of farmers and entire communities especially from the frontline areas with links to the Rugu forest have continued to abandon their ancestral homes due to murderous activities of bandits and terrorists operating in the state.

“We have 32 irrigation schemes across the state and we have revived them to the extent that one irrigation scheme alone is capable of sustaining up to 10 communities, farming and earning a living,” the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Aminu Garba Waziri, said in an interview on Sunday.

Waziri who spoke at a media parley organised by the Katsina Media Forum, also explained government’s decision to suspend the annual distribution of fertilizers to farmers arguing that unscrupulous politicians exploited it to the detriment of genuine farmers.

He said that government equally embarked on a project of desilting the canals and revive the dams too as further measures to accommodate displaced farmers while government distributes improved seedlings to farmers at 50 per cent discount of the actual costs.

According to him, “we have realised that dry season farming is one of the most important aspects in the agriculture sector in supporting activities of farming communities.

“We decided to look for alternative ways by boosting our irrigation schemes so that the conventional farmers move to areas with enough irrigated land for them to farm.

“So, farmers who were displaced from their communities have been relocated to the irrigation schemes across the state.

“For example, not less than 400 households are currently engaged in the irrigation scheme at Malumfashi- Dayi-Kano road irrigation scheme.

“We also revived the irrigation canals and desilted the dams. Those currently enjoying facilities at the irrigation sites are not necessarily from the communities in the areas.

“They come from some other communities where they had challenges because of activities of bandits.

“When you go to Mairuwa in Funtua, along the Funtua-Gusau road, the canals have been revived and are set for the next dry season farming.

“The communities that are closer to this site will move to this location for dry season farming.

“While government takes steps to address the insecurity situation, there has to be alternative ways for the farmers to sustain their livelihood.

“We believe that by the time normalcy returns in the communities, most of them may not even want to continue with the conventional wet season farming because the dry season farming provides multiple opportunities that are not available in the wet season farming alternative.

“The irrigated farms belong to government and after profiling the farmers, we distribute portions to them and the priority is actually for displaced farmers to enable them continue their occupation.”

Waziri said that government decided to stop the hitherto “colourful display of fertilizer distribution” because at the end of the day, politicians hijack the products and the real farmers don’t get what they need.

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