The South-West President of Tomato Growers Association of Nigeria, Mr Bamidele Ajani, has appealed to the Federal and Oyo state governments to revitalise the Dam located in Ikere, Oyo state to boost farming.
Ajani made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Monday in Ibadan.
NAN reports that the Ikere Dam, Northeast of Iseyin, is a multipurpose Dam, along Ogun River covering an area of 47 square kilometre, holding 690 million cubic meter of water.
It has the capacity to generate between 3.75 to 6 GigaWatt (GW) of power.
According to Ajani, aside the power generation potential, a quarter of it can turn out 1 million tons of fish, if utilized for Aqua culture.
He added that this would reduce considerably the fish import and ease the burden on the local currency.
“It has the capacity to supply 82 million Cubic meter of water to adjoining towns, also 12,000 hectares of farm can get irrigated from this same dam.
“If the dam is adequately revamped, it will assist us to meet the target of producing 1,200 metric tons of tomato monthly.”
“There is also the tourism aspect as well that could spin additional income for the community, state and the nation at large.”
“There was a reason this project was conceived by the General Obasanjo regime in 1979 and started by the Shehu Shagari administration, it remains an important asset that should never be allowed to lie fallow”, he said.
Ajani also emphasised that the envisaged employment to be generated from this asset was just in sync with the President Buhari’s resolve to lift 10 million Nigerians out of poverty within a short period, as this Dam should provide a combined direct and indirect employment of about 200,000 people.
According to him, for such to come to fruition, urgent attention must be given to vital assets such as the Ikere Gorge dam.
“We draw the attention of the Honourable Minister of Power, the Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism to this.”
“Oyo State Government should also show special interest on how soon activities begin at this location.”
“The present crop of leaders do have a date with history as many abandoned, uncompleted projects have been fixed.”
“It is my prayer that this very one gets the needed attention,” he said.
Ajani, however, commended the Oyo state government for the farm inputs it distributed to the farmers as palliative, while calling for more support to the farmers.