Prof. Henry Igbadun, Programme Leader for Irrigation, Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), says the institute in collaboration with International Water Management Institute is targeting 1,000 farmers in the newly introduced water conservation technologies.

Igbadun made the disclosure on the sideline of a field visit to TAAT-WEC In-situ water harvesting in sorghum demonstration farms at Janfalan and Sabon-Gari, Daji villages in Ikara and Makarfi Local Government Areas of Kaduna State.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the field visit was meant to sensitise farmers on the need to embrace the new technologies tagged: Technologies Africa Agricultural Transformation-Water Enabler Compact (TAAT-WEC).

NAN also reports that the introduction of the in-situ water harvesting techniques was being funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) through the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and implemented by IAR.

Igbadun said: “What we have done so far, we selected farmers that we aided with seeds, fertilizers and to have their own fields.

“We are demonstrating these technologies for them to see hoping that from next year we will increase their number and then they too will begin to practice the same technology.

“So, we are aiming at 1000 farmers this first year and that we have already achieved because we started doing is with selected farmers and their families and the entire communities, so we are here in Sabon-Gari Daji and we are also in Ikar,” he said.

The don urged Nigerian farmers to take advantage of the new farming technologies to improve their yields towards actualising the Agricultural Transformation Agenda of the Federal Government.

Igbadun said: “We are here on sorghum fields; there are two other crops that the TAAT-WEC project has worked on with respect to water management and they include; water management for wheat and water management for rice.

“Those two crops were done under irrigation in Kano and Nasarawa States, but here, it is about an in-situ water-harvesting technique to increase sorghum production, and sorghum is produced in this area.

“And one challenge that sometimes leads to low yield is that by the month of September into October while the sorghum is still heading, the rain would have ceased.

“Early cessation of rainfall during the grain filling stage leads to poor yields.”

According to him, the TAAT-WEC had introduced two technologies that had to do with tied ridging and double density planting with mulching of the furrow.

This, he said, would help to reduce evaporation and also help to conserve the moisture of the soil which would enable sorghum filing stage to deliver good seed head during harvest.

The Coordinator, TAT-WEC, Dr. Sander Zwart of IWMI, expressed appreciation to meet the peasant farmers in Nigeria who embraced the new technologies.

“Today we are in Nigeria for the project we are operating in seven different countries across Africa, what we try to introduce is to provide new water management technologies that had not been applied before.

“So, what you are seeing here today is, we are demonstrating new methodologies to safe water. As you know we have climate change and farmers are suffering from a shortage of rain in this area.

“Just as we heard that almost two weeks without rains, the plants are suffering, but what you can see here due to our technologies the plants have still a good performance.”

Zwart said they were in Nigeria with the mission of coordinating different African countries, adding the institute had applied the same techniques in Burkina Faso and Mali and it yielded positive results.

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