As nations celebrate the 2020 World Food Day, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Kolawole Salako has made a case for effective water management across Nigeria, to avoid having major environmental climatic problems. The Vice Chancellor noted that though irrigation might be necessary in some dry parts of the country to avoid having soil build-up, effective water management with adequate rainfall would go a long way in preventing environmental issues, stressing that indiscriminate pumping of water underground and damming of rivers could lead to uneven distribution of water to states at the lower end of the country.
“In drier areas, when you don’t have enough water, you can have soil build-up. If we want to irrigate from every state, it will get to a point that the states at the lower end of the river will not get anything. Meanwhile, if you also mine the water underground excessively, it can be a problem thereby causing some environmental issues”, he said. He advised that for any state to embark on the development of irrigation facilities, they must have proper irrigation plans, adding that each state should work more on developing ways through which water can be adequately conserved.
Prof. Salako emphasised the need for the provision of policies and insurance that would make life abundant for farmers with the availability of basic amenities such as security, transportation, electricity and water, among others. He stated that agriculture is about life and transportation should be made accessible to farmers because real farms were usually not in the urban centres, but in the rural areas with bad roads and that food production should not be made too expensive or tedious for the farmers, as everybody has a role to play in improving the agricultural value change in the country. The Vice Chancellor disclosed that over the years, most farmers had suffered from the inability of agriculture-based organisations to keep their promises at making life better for farmers, adding that quite a number of such groups had been pretending to do extension services for farmers, but only ended up making profits for themselves through their non-governmental organisations.
Prof. Salako, a Fellow of the Soil Science Society of Nigeria (FSSSN), added that as a result of this development, a new approach was being developed to teach farmers, not only on how to plant, but what is takes to sell and process for value addition.
According to him, “Farmers are really fed up with people coming all the time to make fake promises to them. The approach now is, instead of telling farmers what to do; we now get to talk to them about community development by teaching them not just how to plant, but also having prospective buyers and customers, and also teaching them about processing. It is a holistic approach in terms of extension and we are concerned about things they can do to hasten the profitability of their work and the things they can also do to expand”.