Irrigated agriculture has been identified as an important practice to achieving food security and socio-economic development in the face of rapid population growth and climatic uncertainties. In northern Nigeria, irrigation has long been identified as the key to achieving the much-desired increase in food production to meet the ever-increasing population. However, the existing irrigation schemes encountered several challenges coming from different dimensions including economic, social, environmental, institutional and technological. To attain sustainable crop production, this paper attempts to uncover the underline challenges confronting irrigation schemes in northern Nigeria that cut across sustainability pillars. The findings revealed that irrigation schemes contributed immensely toward achieving food security and improving the wellbeing of rural dwellers. However, the huge investment in large- and medium-scale irrigation schemes have resulted in massive economic losses. This could be attributed to their under-utilization, poor management and abandonment although few ones are performing remarkably well. The study recommends the need to adopt new water allocation and application methods that can improve water use efficiency, users-managers join approach (participatory), effective and competent institutions which include improved monitoring, evaluation and surveillance systems, frequent policy review to suit the situation, law enforcement, and timely sensitization and awareness campaigns.
Part of the book: Sustainable Crop Production