Irrigation has been hailed as a sine qua non for agriculture and food security. However, lack of knowledge on the subject matter is seen as one of the great inhibitors to effective irrigation especially for farmers in Nigeria and other southern Sahara regions of Africa.
With the overly many agro-ecological and socio-economic environments in Nigeria getting to know the various multi-aspects in irrigation methods and their relationships with household characteristics is necessary to ensure an effective design of low irrigation systems that can contribute immensely to agricultural transformation.
From the various studies conducted by various groups, three main irrigation systems could be found to be in existence in Nigeria today.
- Dry season irrigation of vegetables
- Supplementary irrigation using groundwater
- Labor intensive diverted stream irrigation of rice
Every crop has its specific irrigation requirements and applying specific water source and irrigation system. Most farmers’ choice of irrigation mostly tends to lean towards a combination of factors. A good example is in the Southern Nigeria where most tractor or mechanized driven irrigation is employed for rice farming. In the Northern Nigeria, intensive irrigation of rice and vegetables are encountered due to cheap labor.
Though advanced studies of the irrigation mechanisms in Nigeria in future, it could be seen that understanding the need for irrigation will remove the constraints that inhibit the drastically needed improvement in irrigation systems in Nigeria.