Expert advocates drip irrigation as panacea to dry season farming
To mitigate the effect of dry season on cultivated farms, farmers need to embrace drip irrigation method for increased crop production.
The Integrated Country Project Manager, Dizengoff, Oscar Walumbe, who suggested this at the sidelines of the farmers summit, in Abuja, said drip irrigation offers the most cost effective and efficient irrigation method that can be adapted by farmers across the country whether large, medium or small holders.
He said: “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.
“To be sure, the Nigerian climate as in other places has become increasingly unpredictable.
Its either the rain 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.
In order 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,” he said.
Walumbe said though there are several techniques used by farmers, including the laborious manual and gun rain methods, drip irrigation holds the best prospect as the most cost effective and efficient method to overcome the problem of dry season farming.
“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 fertilizers to crops possible through the process of fertigation.
“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.
It is equally adaptable to any soil and weather conditions, just as it enables ‘fertigation’, that is a process by which fertilizers are applied through the irrigation system.”
He drew attention to the increasing devastating impact of changes in the weather, urging farmers to move away from dependence on rain fed agriculture and embrace irrigation farming, as the way out of the challenges ahead.