Prof. Henry Igbadun, the Project Coordinator, Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation-Water Enabler Compact (TAAT-WEC) in Nigeria, says testing of the modern irrigation technology for effective water management for wheat production was successful.
Igbadun made this known on Thursday when he led members of the project team and the journalists to Alkamawa, Kano State to inspect the rice field irrigated by the technology, which is now ready for harvesting.
He said that the modern irrigation technology introduced under TAAT-WEC project, led by International Water Management (IWMI) in collaboration with the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR) Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria “is yielding very impressive results’’.
He said the method was used through Poly Vinly Chloride (PVC) water conveyance and distribution technology for irrigation of wheat crop during the last wheat growing season – from November 2018 to March 2019.
Igbadun said the use of such technology led to about 40 per cent increase in grain yield compared to the traditional methods used by the farmers in the area.
According to him, the TAAT-WEC project, which was sponsored by the African Development Bank (ADB) has the objective of up scaling water management technologies for wheat, rice and sorghum crops in Nigeria.
He said that the introduction of the modern irrigation method was necessary to reduce the drudgery in irrigation that farmers go through and also reduce the cost of production.
According to him, the gravity method of conveying irrigation water around fields is not only tedious, but takes longer time to irrigate fields, more hours of running irrigation pumps, high water conveyance losses and inundation of fields.
He said that the PVC pipe conveyance and distribution technology was therefore appropriate to overcome these challenges because “it saves time of irrigation, which in turn reduces the amount of fuel used to power the centrifugal pumps’’.
“The technology also makes irrigation appealing to farmers and young ones. If all other inputs are used judiciously on the field, the technology has the potential to bring about increase in yields.”
The project coordinator said that the technology, if adopted would also help wheat and rice farmers to save the irrigation fields from deterioration due to field inundation or flooding.
“The obvious challenge in adopting this technology by small-scale farmers is the initial investment cost, particularly the cost of the purchasing the conveyance pipes.
“However, when this technology is properly managed, the ease of use and reduction in drudgery and eventual increase in yield can offset the initial cost.”
He said that the irrigation technology could also be used to irrigate other grain crops and vegetables.
Speaking on the development, the Deputy Director, IAR, Prof. Dauda Dada-Yusuf said the TAAT-WEC project demonstration field, located in Bunkure was due to the large number of tube-wells in the area.
He therefore called on farmers in the state to adopt such method as it could reduce cost of production, save energy and also increase the output of the crop after harvesting.
He said that the TAAT-WEC was seeking partnerships from both government, and the private sectors to assist farmers to adopt the technology.
Alhaji Sani Garba, the Chairman of Wheat and Rice Farmers Association in the area, commended the institute for bringing the technology to area, and pledged to ensure that other farmers also adopted the method of irrigation.
According to him, the introduction of such a technology now that President Muhammad Buhari has been making efforts to revive the agricultural sector is a positive development.