As effect of the dry season begins to take its toll on cultivated farmlands across the country, farmers have been urged to embrace drip irrigation method as a way out of the challenge and deliver better crop yield.
“Undoubtedly, one of the most critical issues at the onset of the dry season beside insects and pests is the question of irrigation. And it is the same headache with every farmer at this period of the year, whether large, medium or the smallholder farmer. I believe drip irrigation provides the best solution to this problem,” Oscar Walumbe, Integrated Country Project Manager, Dizengoff Nigeria, declared while speaking at the sidelines of the recent farmers’ summit held in Abuja.
According to him, “drip irrigation offers the most cost-effective and efficient irrigation method that can be adapted by farmers across the country whether large, medium or smallholders, to address the perennial problem associated with dry season farming. It is one sure method, if well managed, that guarantees all year round farming to enable increased crop production as well as deliver better crop yield,” he affirmed.
To be sure, the Nigerian climate as in other places has become increasingly unpredictable. It’s either the rainy season comes late or ends early, while at other times it doesn’t come at all. For the farmer, this makes planning farm tasks difficult. To avoid losses and low productivity, farmers usually look for ways to ensure that there is moisture in their farmlands by adopting different irrigation methods to apply water and nutrients to the field.
Although there are several techniques used by farmers in Nigeria including the laborious manual and gun rain methods, drip irrigation, says the Dizengoff chief, holds the best prospect as the most cost-effective and efficient method to overcome the problem of dry season farming.
He posited that the method holds the proverbial magic key as “the most efficient and cost-effective method capable of ensuring better crop yields for the Nigerian farmer.”
The drip method allows water to drip and drop from pipes running through the farm. The process helps to conserve water and properly pass moisture to soil and thereby boost yield. It also makes even distribution of fertilisers to crops possible through the process of fertigation.
Underlining the advantages of the “family drip irrigation system” propagated by Dizengoff, Walumbe disclosed that beside its simplicity in terms of installation, “it is gravity operated with heavy duty drippers with wide water passages to prevent clogging.
“It uses water in the most efficient way, it is flexible and suitable to adapt to different water sources,” he said, adding that, “it is equally adaptable to any soil and weather conditions, just as it enables fertigation, that is a process by which fertilisers are applied through the irrigation system.”