Irrigation farmers in six local government areas around Tiga dam in Kano state were recently elated the management of Hadejia Jama’are River Basin Development Authority (HJRBDA) reopened the dam for farmers and animal usage.
Daily Trust reports that the Authority had closed the dam for repairs, making dry season farming very difficult.
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It was closed on November 1, 2021.
The dam serves as the major source of water for the over 22, 000 hectares irrigation site in Kadawa and other irrigation sites in the state that covers about six local governments.
The closure brought had brought untold hardship to the farmers as they kept lamenting the losses they incurred as a result of the closure.
The farmers also claimed that they were not involved in the decision taken by the authority while deciding on the dam closure.
The closure forced many farmers, especially tomato farmers to move away from the site to other alternative sites due to lack of water. Some of the farmers edged closer to some water sources at the bank of Kano River for their farming activities.
One of the farmers, Mansur Bello Dorawar Sallau, they have now seen the advantages they initially failed to see in the dam’s repair proposals.
He said with the recent dam’s closure and the reopening of the dam after completion of the repairs, farmers in the area have noticed the tremendous benefits they stand to gain from the repairs.
“We never knew that what we were initially complaining about would turn out to be a blessing to us. HJRBDA has, under the repairing agreement, rehabilitated many water channels as well as built new ones. Access roads to farms were repaired and new ones were also constructed. Indeed these are things we didn’t see coming towards us, but we are happy that we stood the pressure and other demerits attached to the closure. Today, we are happy to have our farms watered again,” said Dorawar Sallau.
Another farmer, Malam Shehu Tasi’u Yadakwari, said he was optimistic that the irrigation system in Kadawa irrigation site can compete with other modern sites across the continent. According to him, though farmers have waited so long for the dam to be reopened, the outcome is worth the waiting and that the site will surely be producing more than it used to be.
A visit to the site revealed that some channels were filled with water while some were still empty without water. Moreover, while some farmers were busy tending to their farms, others were still waiting
However, as custodian of the dam HJRBDA maintained that the authority had done a lot to maximize effective usage of the dam water by farmers, adding that the series of repairs is in line with the Transforming Irrigation Management in Nigeria (TRIMING) which is a World Bank funded Project set to implement the rehabilitation of the Kano River Irrigation Schemes (KRIS) and Hadejia Valley Irrigation Scheme (HVIS).
According to the HJRBDA’s Public Relation Officer (PRO), Malam Salisu Baba Hamza, it is heartwarming that the farmers have begun to see the rationality behind the authority’s decision to close the dam.
He added that before the closure of the dam, the agency, farmer associations, Water Users Association (WUA) in the state and management of TRIMING had a meeting and have agreed on the timing for the closure, yet many farmers have complained on the unanimous decision taken.
The PRO further stated that though some areas might not be receiving the water for now, farmers should not worry as it takes weeks for the water to cover all the areas. He urged the farmers to be patient as the water will soon reach their sites.
A tomato farmer, Kabiru Ubale, told Daily Trust that the transformation of the irrigation site has been one of the memorable moments in the over 45 years of its establishment. He said farmers in the area would now be able to double their efforts in farm production.