Prof Joseph UtsevPhoto Credit: Punchng

Minister introduces dry season agriculture in Benue

In a significant stride towards enhancing agricultural productivity, the Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Prof. Joseph Utsev, flagged off the 2023/24 dry season farming in Benue State on Wednesday.

The ceremony, held at Mbaku in Makurdi, marked the commencement of a concerted effort by the Federal Government to maximize the use of 500,000 hectares of irrigable land by 2024.

During the event, Minister Utsev revealed that President Bola Tinubu had issued a directive to ensure the optimal utilization of the targeted land. The minister emphasized the alignment of this initiative with the renowned hope agenda of the president, asserting that all 12 River Basins in the country would be fully utilized in 2024.

The minister disclosed that several river basins had undergone partial commercialization to boost food production and stimulate economic growth.

Notably, 1,500 hectares of land at the Lower Benue River Basin Development Authority Makurdi farm in Mbaku community were deemed insufficient for the planned irrigation farming in 2024.

Minister Utsev expressed the ministry’s commitment to fulfilling its mandate and called on investors to invest in the water sector. He stated, “We have put all the machineries in place to ensure that there is no excuse for us not to boost agriculture in this country.”

The minister extended an invitation to investors to partner with the government, promising incentives for farmers, including water pumps, to enhance cultivation.

“As we do symbolic planting of the crops today, I want to assure the farmers that we are ready to support them, work with them, and help them overcome their challenges so that food would be available to all Nigerians,” he affirmed.

The government, he added, would also provide improved seedlings and technical support to farmers.

Engr. Mohammed Addra, the Managing Director of the Lower Benue River Basin Development Authority, praised the cooperation of the host community and pledged to continue working with them.

During the visit, Minister Utsev inaugurated the Soil and Geographic Information System laboratories of the basin, Lessel Dam. He also presented certificates and distributed starter packs to the 5th Batch of graduands under the Graduates/Youths Empowerment Programme of the Federal Government.

Additionally, the minister inspected the rice mill, Songhai Model Farm, and distributed water pumps to some farmers, along with other inputs to the graduands. The event marked a pivotal moment in the concerted efforts to harness the potential of irrigable land for agricultural development in Benue State.


Peter Ritdung Wakkias is a Nigerian blogger and programmer, known for being the CEO of and He holds a Higher National Diploma in Computer Science from Isa Mustapha Agwai 1 Polytechnic Lafia. Based in Lafia, Nasarawa State.

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