In line with the federal government’s mandate on building sustainable irrigation farming in the country aimed at forcing down cost of crop production , the Lower Niger River Basin Development Authority, Ilorin has unveiled plans to provide solar-powered irrigation pumps to over 200 trained farmers.
This initiative according to the authority, will in turn boost farming activities, reduce and put an end to the usage of petroleum products to power irrigation systems.
A cross section of dry season farmers who welcomed the development at an event organised by the (LNRBDA) to test run the pumps, said they spend about N12,000 naira to purchase fuel to irrigate one hectare of farmland per day.
This according to them, has drastically reduced the farm areas to be irrigated, thereby reducing food production.
They expressed delight that the new development will create new opportunities for farmers to increase the resilience of their crops.
The managing director of the authority, Dr. Adeniyi Saheed Aremu asserted that when farmers take cost effective irrigation systems into their own hands, they will be able to increase production.
He said the ability to secure irrigation water during the dry season will help farmers to plant staple crops such as rice for a second season and other vegetables.
According to Aremu, the authority is working with the farmers to test a number of solar powered irrigation pumps and also sensitize farmers on how to improve agricultural production, water use efficiency, water productivity as well as the sustainability of these systems.
Explaining how the solar powered pump works, Aremu a water Engineer by training said the “solar water pump uses sunlight to generate energy and power a motor that draws water from tube wells, ponds or rivers for irrigation purposes.
He said “the solar system has an engine capacity of 1.5 horsepower(hp) with a maximum head of 15m and maximum flow 15m3/h and is being implemented in Ilala, Oke Oyi, Akerebiata, Egbejila, Giriyan and Ejiba all located in Kogi and Kwara States.
“The 3-inch pump is to provide a reliable water supply for irrigating 10-12 hectare-fields, especially during the dry season, and has the potential to reduce water wastage”.
Dr. Aremu added that new development will force down the cost of crop production to drastically and will also boost agricultural production in Kwara and Kogi states.