Irrigation is the key to a sustainable food production and food security. Nigeria depends majorly on rain-fed agricultual operations to feed about 190 million people despite having a good weather and a fertile land which can be leverage on to grow wide range of crops, sustainable food production cannot be achieved. Irrigation is important as crops can be grown all year round, expand crop production on hectarage under cultivation and unused land.
Types Of Irrigation
- surface Irrigation system- this method makes use of furrows, flooding and cannals to get adequate water supplied to the crops from water sources and the water flows evenly to all the crops in the field.
- overhead Irrigation system- this method involes the use sprinklers, centre pivot system, water pumps/wheels, spaying guns and drip method to deliver water to individual plant from water sources (springs, lakes/ponds,wells and rivers).
Role of irrigation in food production
Irrigation provides a powerful management tool against the vagaries of rainfall and makes it economically attractive to grow high-yield seed varieties and to apply adequate plant nutrition as well as pest control and other inputs, thus giving room for a boost in yields.There is always high yield response of a cereal crop to water availability and the synergy between irrigation, crop variety and inputs. Irrigation is crucial to the world’s food supplies. In 1998, irrigated land made up about one-fifth of the total arable area in developing countries but produced two-fifths of all crops and close to three-fifths of cereal production, FAO.
Irrigation helps in doubling output and farmers will grow 2-3 crops annually. All season cropping is feasible under practices as the irrigation water can be laden with growth enhancing and crop protection inputs like fertilizers, herbicides/ fungicides etc from immediate use of the crop which also help in reducing production costs.
In order to achieve sustainable food production, individuals, religious organizations, non-governmental and government bodies must invest heavily on irrigation and mechanization.
The key to sustainable and stable food production we must take advantage of the irrigation system coupled with improved agricultural practices i.e good irrigation inputs, mechanization, improved/disease-resistant seeds etc.