The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the sum N10.2 billion for the Tada-Shonga Irrigation project in Shonga, Kwara State.
The Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu, disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents after FEC meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Adamu said the ministry sought for variation and augmentation of an ongoing project — Tada-Shonga Irrigation project as part of its efforts to continue working towards completing inherited and abandoned projects.
“The project was started in 2010 but was abandoned along the way; it has huge potential for irrigation, especially rice production, which we made a priority project in our ministry.
“Therefore, we brought it to council for augmentation and request for a variation to increase the size of the project because of the potential it has from 15000 to 2300 hectares of irrigation.
“The augmentation is for N6.9 billion because of the variation; the variation includes 700 hectares increase plus 2-megawatts Solar Power Plant to replace the diesel plant that was in the original design.’’
He said that diesel was expensive; hence pumping would become unsustainable.
According to him, the irrigation system will not be sustainable if the country continues to rely on diesel.
“So, for that purpose, we sought for this augmentation and variation in the sum of N6.9 billion; raising the project from the original sum of N3.3 billion to N10.2 billion and with a completion period of 36 months.
“Council was gracious enough to approve this project because of the huge potential that has for the food security policy and our desire to make agriculture a focal instrument of our economy.
“Where this project is located is in the Niger-River Basin and between the Rivers Niger and Benue Basins.
“In this country, we have the potential of 1.8 million hectares for irrigation and we are trying to encourage the private sector to also join us in developing this huge area with a great potential for agriculture,’’ he said.
The minister said the project was one step forward towards developing the irrigation potential of the basin.