The Vice Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Prof Abdullahi Mustapha, has urged the Federal Government to increase funding for agricultural research and extension services, to keep pace with advancement in the sector.
Mustapha made the call at the ongoing 14th National Irrigation and Drainage Seminar, holding in Minna, Niger State, with the theme, `Advancing the Frontiers of Irrigation and Drainage for Agricultural Transformation’.
He said massive funding of research and extension services would impact positively on agriculture and ensure food security.
“It is important to let the participants know that our institutes are making great contribution to advancing the frontiers of irrigation in the country. This cannot be achieved without financial support from the Federal Government.
“In order to keep pace with advancement in technology, it is necessary to increase research and extension funding,’’ he said.
He said the university was the only institution in the country mandated to conduct research on irrigation, adding that it was collaborating with local and international organisations in meeting its target.
According to him, the five-day seminar has brought together stakeholders in the sector, who would offer recommendations for policy formation on irrigation and drainage development in the country.
Also speaking, Prof Paul Marley, Managing Director, Upper Niger River Basin Development Authority, called on investors to put to use, the abandoned vast irrigation farms owned by the authority in Niger state.
“Genuine investors are welcome to partner with the authority to put to use the seemingly abandoned vast irrigation farms in the state,’’ he said.
Marley said more than 3, 375 hectares of irrigation farms, located in Tunga Kawo, Tafa, Jere, Swashi, Gussoro, Wuga, Badegi, Doko, Edo zhigi, Nasarawa and Mariga areas of the state, were under cultivation. (NAN)