|Author: ||S. Dittoh|
Dry season vegetable production in Nigeria has become such an important income generating occupation that there is always shortage of suitable land for the numerous producers.
Production is undertaken under irrigation and is characterised by intense mixed cropping.
Four main types of irrigation systems can be distinguished; the "traditional" shaduf, small pump informal (i.e. privately owned), small scale formal (i.e. government schemes) and medium scale formal (government schemes).
The paper discusses and compares the costs and returns structures in the production of vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, onions, garden eggs, carrots and others) under the four irrigation systems.
The aim is to compare profitability under the various systems and identify factors that enhance profitability.
The results indicate that losses are incurred by farmers who use the shaduf system while the highest profits are made under the small scale informal system inspite of the fact that government subsidises the operations of the formal systems.
Small scale informal irrigation is however too limited and rudimentary and the future of dry season vegetable production under irrigation cannot depend on such a system.
Also increasing costs of imported pumps might force farmers back to the unprofitable shaduf system unless the formal irrigation schemes are improved upon.
The paper concludes that the future of irrigated vegetable production in Nigeria lies in a well articulated formal/informal irrigation integration based on small/medium scale irrigation schemes which are capable of catering for a relatively large number of producers.
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