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President Buhari Approves N24.4B For Phase One Of Smart Irrigation Scheme




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As part of efforts to promote an all-year-round bumper harvest plan, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved N24.4 billion for phase one of the nation’s smart irrigation scheme.

Naija News reports that the development was disclosed by the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure, Prof. Mohammad Haruna.

According to Haruna, the president’s approval was to ensure that Nigeria promote a multi-crops season farming programme.

He said the Federal Government had decided to establish six Agricultural Machinery and Equipment Development Institutes (AMEDI) in each of the nation’s geopolitical zones, a step to improve the bumper harvest of food in the country.

Haruna in a statement explained that farmers would not only be taught mechanized farming by the institutes, but also modern farming techniques.

He disclosed that collaborations have been ongoing between Nigeria, the Czech Republic, and Jordan on modern agriculture and manpower training on mechanized farming.

It was learnt that the foundation of the Agricultural Machinery and Equipment Development Institute (AMEDI) have already been laid in Obudu, Cross River State for the South-South.

Haruna at the foundation laying ceremony pointed out that “The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari had laid the foundation of ensuring multi-crops season farming programme in Nigeria by approving N24.4bn for the phase one of the smart irrigation scheme. The proliferation of mechanised farming is needed to meet the targeted bumper harvest all year round which inform the need for local production of tools and equipment and hence approval for the six institutes nationwide.

“ One of the targets of implementing bilateral agreement between Nigeria and the Czech Republic approved by President Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) and managed by Presidential Implementation Committee hosted by NASENI is to make agriculture attractive to the youths by deploying mechanization and technology.

“NASENI experts trained recently in the Czech Republic and others in Jordan in modern agriculture are among the best Nigeria has ever produced in agricultural technology with capacity and know-how in the application of advances in Agricultural Technology especially green Agriculture.

“Each of the six geo-political zones of Nigeria is allocated an AMEDI to meet the equipment need of the Nation. Three out of these six agricultural equipment-based institutes are being developed in Phase One. These are AMEDI-Lafia, Nasarawa State for North Central; AMEDI Mbutu Mbaise, Imo State for South East; and Obudu in Cross River State for South-South. Lafia and Mbutu are expected to be commissioned in March 2023.”

He advanced that the institutes were mandated to invent and produce tools, parts, systems and equipment and machinery for cultivation, plantation, weeding, harvesting, shelling, processing and preservation through backward integration and domestication of foreign technologies in agriculture copied by a well-trained staff of NASENI.

Haruna added that “AMEDI Obudu is one of the two selected by Jordanian partners of NASENI for the pilot of all-inclusive modern agricultural food traceability project being implemented using IOT devices for global acceptability of Nigerian food and cash crops to enhance foreign exchange through export of agricultural products.”

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The Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade, who was also at the foundation laying commended the Federal Government for promoting the agricultural sector, noting that the institute will help to boost agriculture in the state.