Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa. It’s home to over 190 million people, and contains a large swath of land suitable for agriculture – over 90% of the country. Currently, rainwater irrigates most of the arable land. Therefore, crops are at the mercy of shifting and erratic weather patterns.
To help meet the challenge of bringing in the infrastructure and improving agriculture in Nigeria, the government has implemented a number of new programs. These programs make capital and loans readily available to farmers of all sizes for purchasing seed, fertilizer, and irrigation equipment. The purpose is to incentivize small and medium farmers to take advantage of technological advances such as drip irrigation and improve their outputs, creating larger crops that can be sold on the local market or exported to other countries.
Policies that Impact Drip Irrigation
Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) has, in recent years, put out a number of documents outlining the policies they plan to pursue internally as well as their goals for these policies. One key policy for those looking to invest in the manufacturing and distribution of drip irrigation technology includes zero tariffs on importing both agriculture equipment and agro-processing equipment. The goal is to encourage manufacturers and producers of agricultural equipment, such as drip irrigation, to bring their processes and products to Nigeria.
Specifically, the FMARD agricultural subsidies in Nigeria aim to encourage private sector investment in irrigation and irrigation systems as a way to rapidly expand irrigation facilities throughout the country. The goal is to encourage companies and distributors to set up shop and provide these new businesses with a customer base of educated farmers who are aware of the advantages of drip irrigation. Loans for small and medium sized farmers also make them better able to purchase these products.
Drip Irrigation vs. Rainfed Irrigation
The majority of Nigeria currently relies on rainwater to irrigate crops. While free, it’s certainly difficult to control water usage and impact on the growing cycle. Further, rainwater nourishes everything, including weeds. Creating and maintaining channels for rainwater is labor intensive and, if there is no rain, the entire crop can go to waste.
Drip irrigation, on the other hand, allows farmers to reliably deliver water exactly where and when they see it is necessary. While there is some labor involved laying down the drip pipes, once it’s there, it’s good for the season and installation is fairly simple. Farmers can then water just their crops exactly when needed. If there is rain, then they don’t have to water, but if there isn’t, crops will still get nutrients, which keeps the food supply in the country steady and helps meet another national goal. Further, drip irrigation can deliver fertilizer and other products directly to plants, keeping them healthy and happy.
DRTS supplies the machines, technology, experience, and knowhow needed for entrepreneurs to set up factories for manufacturing drip irrigation, PE, PP and PVC pipes in emerging markets such as Nigeria. With government support and a huge market thirsty for water, drip irrigation can accelerate agricultural output and agriculture in Nigeria can become a flourishing industry.