Understanding Irrigation System Diversity in Nigeria: A Modified Cluster Analysis Approach
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Irrigation is considered an important factor for agricultural growth in low-income countries. However, information is scarce in sub-Saharan African countries such as Nigeria regarding the types of farm household using irrigation and irrigation systems used. Such information may provide insights into why irrigation is still rare in Nigeria despite its potential. This paper briefly presents the historical irrigation investment patterns and policies in Nigeria. It then presents the typology of farm households and irrigators, using nationally representative household data in Nigeria. Historical investment patterns indicate that public irrigation investment in Nigeria has been low and inefficient in expanding irrigated areas. Currently, irrigation is used for a number of crops in Nigeria, ranging from rice and vegetables to maize, coarse grains and legumes. Irrigation is generally used only where labour or mechanized land preparation is cheap, indicating its labour-intensive nature. Choice of irrigated crops, water sources, irrigation methods and irrigation seasons all seem highly correlated, suggesting that irrigation in Nigeria only makes economic sense for each crop within specific production systems. The paper discusses the measures needed for improving irrigation use for different types of farm households and irrigators in Nigeria. Copyright (C) 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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