By Bukar Bolori
The Feed the Future Water for Agriculture activity, supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has increased access to water for almost 55,000 farmers and herders in Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe States and resulted in over 1,600 farmers adopting improved agriculture production practices.
According to a statement by USAID on Tuesday, access to water and scarce water facilities have contributed to conflict between herders and farmers in the Northeast.
The statement read: “The four-year (2019 – 2023) Water for Agriculture activity, implemented by Catholic Relief Services and partners, helped reduce tensions between the two communities. Across the three states, Water for Agriculture constructed and rehabilitated 21 water facilities, including dams, irrigation schemes, boreholes, and water retention ponds.”
Speaking at the closeout event, USAID/Nigeria’s Director of Economic Growth and Environment Michelle Corzine said, “USAID recognizes the importance of water access for consumption and agricultural use. Through our Water for Agriculture activity, we have increased access to water for smallholder farmers and livestock herders and strengthened the governance and management of water resources.”
Speaking on the benefits of the Feed the Future Water for Agriculture activity, Chairman of the Water Users Association in Zobi 2 Community, Borno State Usman Tella Mustapha said: “We walked long distances to fetch water and our livestock suffered during dry seasons. The construction of a new dam raised the water level so that the boreholes could pump water. Access to clean water within our community has saved us time, increased productivity, and enhanced our overall well-being.
”Agriculture and water are critical for sustainable development and prosperity. However, climate change negatively impacts agriculture and water availability. Since 2008, the United States Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, has enabled globally nearly 60 million people to access safe drinking water and 45 million people to access sanitation.