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The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved N10 billion for the completion of irrigation projects in Shonga, Kwara State.

The minister of water resources, Suleiman Adamu, said this while addressing journalists after the meeting in Abuja.

He said the ministry presented a memo to the council on the ongoing project in Shonga.

“Council was gracious enough to approve this project because of the huge potentials that it has for the food security policy and our desire to make agriculture a focal instrument of our economy,” he said.

“We brought this ‘augmentation and variation’ for Tada Shonga Irrigation Project, which is sited in Shonga in Kwara State,” he added

Mr Adamu said the project began in 2010, but was abandoned.

“Because of its huge potential for irrigation and especially for rice production, we made it a priority project in our ministry and therefore brought it to council for an augmentation.

“We request for variation to increase the size of the project because of the potentials it has from 1500 hectares to 2,300 hectares of irrigation,” he said.

“The augmentation is for N6.9 billion, but the variation includes 700 hectares increase, plus two megawatt solar power plant to replace the diesel power plant that was in the original design,” he explained.

He also said due to high cost of diesel and purchasing, “the irrigation system will be unsustainable if we continue to rely on diesel.”

“So for that purpose, we sought for the augmentation and variation in the sum of N6.9 billion, raising the project from the original sum of N3.263 billion to N10.18 billion, with the completion period of 36 months,” he said.

He said the project is located in the Niger River basin between the Rivers Niger and Benue Basins

Mr Adam said the ministry has potentials for about 1.8 million hectares for irrigation, adding that “efforts are being made to include the private sector”.

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