Irrigation performance and water productivity in small-holder lift irrigation systems in north-western Nigeria


  • william richard graham depart of agric eng WUFP nigeria


Crop water productivity, Irrigation water management, financial self sufficiency


A study was carried out to determine the productivity of small holder irrigation in northwestern Nigeria. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the performance of small-scale irrigation systems in Nigeria using several performance indicators.

On the average crop yields (mean; 3657.4 kg ha-1) for wheat fell within the lower range of expected yields reported for irrigated wheat. However, the farms studied produced fairly high yields (mean; 535.6 kg ha-1). This may be attributed to the resilience of the small-holder farmers and access to subsidized inputs.

In terms of output per cropped area, the rice farms gave better results (mean; 2635.9 US$ ha-1) when compared to the wheat farms (mean; 1981.2 US$ ha-1). However, when considering output per unit irrigation supply, the wheat farms averaged better. Similar results for both crops were obtained with respect to output per unit water consumed.

With respect to crop water productivity, both wheat (mean; 0.51 kg. m-3) and rice (mean 0.50 kg m-3) had similar results.  In regards to financial self-sufficiency, the wheat farms (mean; 483%) far out-performed the rice farms (mean; 155.8%). This can be attributed to the greater amount of inputs utilized by the rice farms, particularly the large amount of fuel required to pump the prodigious amounts of water used to irrigate the rice plots. Furthermore, the market price of wheat is about 2.5 times that of rice. However, in all the farms studied income generated far exceeded expenditure. These systems have far greater financial self-sufficiency, than agency managed irrigation systems.

Author Biography

william richard graham, depart of agric eng WUFP nigeria

Department of agricultural & bioi-environmental engineering 

WUFEDPOLY, birnin kebbi, Nigeria 






I-Land and Water Engineering