US earmarks N2.8bn to provide water for herders, farmers in N/East
NEWS DIGEST–As a way of addressing the conflicts between the herdsmen and farmers, the United States Agency for International Development has allocated about N2.8 billion ($8m) for the provision of water for about 50,000 herders and 4,000 smallholder farmers in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States.
The project, ‘Water for Agriculture,’ which runs from 2019-2022, is being carried out in collaboration with an international humanitarian organization, Catholic Relief Services.
Speaking during the inauguration of the project in Abuja on Wednesday, the USAID Mission Director, Stephen Haykin said the water for agriculture project would contribute to the promotion of agriculture-led economic growth to improve resilience and nutrition and stronger governance of the water and sanitation sector.
He stated, “Water for agriculture will play a critical role in USAID’s strategy to develop new sustainable water sources in communities where displaced populations are returning. Through this activity, USAID will help the North East region develop its production capacity based on best agricultural practices.”
According to Haykin, the project would lead to the construction of new earth dams and systems for crop production and livestock watering, strengthening water governance and management, improving productivity and helping to mitigate conflict between farmers and herders.
The director disclosed that CRS would partner with the Federation of Muslim Women’s Associations in Nigeria, Search for Common Ground, Diamond Development Initiatives, the Pastoral Resolve and other partners and relevant government agencies.
The CRS Deputy Country Representative, Dane Fredenburg, in his welcome remarks explained that the USAID Water for Agriculture Activity was awarded to the organisation on July 15, 2019, as a cooperative agreement, adding that the project would construct or rehabilitate at least 21 water structures, including dams, irrigation systems and boreholes in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States.
“Within these localities where water structures are built or rebuilt, they will improve access to water for an estimated 67,722 herders and farmers. This, in turn, will reduce conflicts among these two economically and socially significant and interdependent producer groups,” he noted.
Fredenburg said the project represents USAID’s primary response to addressing the challenge of the shrinking Lake Chad Basin, the historic source of water for livestock and crops in the North East region.
Borno State Deputy Governor, Umar Kadafur lauded the project and also appreciated the USAID and CRS for their commitment to addressing the perennial conflicts between herders and farmers.