Shaba advocates for proactive measures to improve food security by promoting irrigation farming.

President Bola Tinubu’s recent commitment to advancing food production in Nigeria through modern agricultural methods has spurred a collaborative initiative led by the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), in conjunction with the University of Delaware, the International Institute of Agriculture (IITA), and the University of Ibadan. The objective? To bolster food security via irrigation farming across the nation.

At a workshop titled “Enhancing Food Security through Irrigation Farming in Nigeria: Understanding Patterns, Challenges, and Opportunities,” NASRDA’s director-general, Dr. Halilu Shaba, unveiled this ambitious endeavor. He stressed Nigeria’s pivotal role in African food sufficiency given its expansive agricultural potential. Despite governmental efforts, Nigeria struggles to achieve food self-sufficiency and promote sustainable farming, largely due to underutilized irrigation resources, leading to heavy reliance on imports during dry spells.

Dr. Shaba underscored the significance of irrigation farming in sustaining Nigeria’s burgeoning population, citing successful nations’ adeptness in managing seasonal constraints and embracing large-scale production techniques. NASRDA’s interest in agriculture arises from the intersection of space technology with this crucial sector, prompting Dr. Shaba to urge workshop attendees to explore how space technologies could revolutionize agricultural production in Nigeria through collaborative efforts.

The workshop aims to pinpoint irrigation water sources, discuss sustainable techniques, tackle challenges, and delineate stakeholder responsibilities. Dr. Matthew Adepoju, NASRDA’s director of strategic space application, encouraged media professionals to simplify technical concepts for farmers and aid in interpreting agricultural data.

Dr. Kyle Davis, representing the University of Delaware, stressed the centrality of water in food systems and advocated for robust data infrastructure to support Nigeria’s agricultural resilience, emphasizing the importance of open-source data and capacity building.

Prof. Akeem Oyerinde, from the University of Abuja, highlighted irrigation farming as a frontier in Nigeria’s agricultural progress, facilitating year-round cultivation and youth involvement, leveraging the nation’s abundant land resources.

Through collaborative endeavors, the initiative seeks to harness Nigeria’s agricultural potential via innovative practices, spotlighting irrigation farming as a linchpin for food security and economic advancement. With strategic partnerships and concerted efforts, Nigeria aspires to revolutionize its agricultural landscape and emerge as a global frontrunner in food production.

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