Akwa Ibom farmers have appreciated the management of Rural Electrification Agency of the Federal Ministry of Power for providing them with brand new solar power water pumping machines for the irrigation of their farms during dry season farming in the state.
The representatives of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Cassava growers, water leaves, fluted pumpkin and maize farmers, having received the solar power water pumping machines from the Federal Government, described the gesture as one of the best things that would help them in advancing the growth and development of agriculture in the state.
The coordinator of RIFAN for Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area, Mr Emmanuel Usuah, who benefited from the gesture, told Midweek Pioneer Agriculture that the solar powered water pumping machines came to relief them of the stress of buying fuel at exorbitant amount to power their water pumping machines for the irrigation of their farms.
Usuah posited that with the solar pumping machines at their disposal, farmers have nothing to do with petrol for the irrigation of their farms.
He saw the donation of the solar powered water pumping machines as the best thing that has happened to farmers for increased agricultural production without any stress, especially during dry season in the state.
His words: “Fuel purchase at exorbitant price of between N180-N200 per a litre was very stressful to farmers, especially those with many acres of rice farms for irrigation in the morning and evening on daily basis. Fuel water pumping machines was good but regrettably the cost of petroleum products is far beyond the reach of rural farmers and was affecting agricultural production in the state. With the new development, farmers will be able to water their farm crops with ease and increase food production in the state.”
Usuah thanked the state government for giving agriculture priority attention thereby attracting international and federal government attention to the state for assistance to farmers.
He called for the donation of more solar water pumping machines for onward distribution to more farmers to encourage dry and wet season farming towards the realisation of food sufficiency in the state.
The Ibiono Ibom RIFAN coordinator promised that the services of the solar power water pumping machines would be extended to their fellow farmers to irrigate their farms.
The president, Ikot Eyo Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society Limited, Nsit Ubuim Local Government Area, Mr Usoroh Okoko, whose organisation is involved in the cultivation of cassava, fluted pumpkin and maize, noted with regret the economic set back they were facing in purchasing fuel to irrigate their crops on daily basis.
Okoko was full of happiness with the Federal Government for the provision of solar powered water pumping machines to his organisation, describing the gesture as a big relief to his members for increased agricultural activities in the state.
He said with the new development, farmers who benefited from the gesture would be able to farm all year round without any hindrance, thanking the commissioner for agriculture, Dr Offiong Offor, for working round the clock to successfully distribute the machines to real farmers in the state.
He promised to make optimal application of the machines for the realisation of food sufficiency and food security in the state.
The South South coordinator, Rural Electrification Agency, Engineer Rose Udoh, who stood in for the managing director, Ahmad Salijo Ahmad, said her Agency decided to provide farmers in Akwa Ibom with 60 units of the solar poweredwater pumping machines to assist them in the regular irrigation of their farms.
He said the machines given to farmers free of charge, if properly handled and maintained, would last for more than 10years, advising farmers to use the machines to expand agricultural production in the state.
The commissioner for agriculture, Dr Offiong Offor, while presenting the machines to farmers, described the Rural Electrification Agency, Abuja as one of the major stakeholders in the development of agriculture.
Offor thanked Gov Udom Emmanuel for attaching great importance to agriculture, which attracted Federal Government agencies and international organizations to the state for assistance, expressing optimism that, with the machines, farmers are going to scale up food production in the state.
She urged the beneficiaries to take good advantage of the machines to increase food production in the state and left over for export.