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IAR&T organises workshop for farmers on irrigation practices

South West farmers have been advised to improve irrigation practices either supplemental or total irrigation, to avoid hunger and food scarcity in the region.

The Institute of Agricultural Research and Training, (IAR&T) Ibadan, Executive Director of the institute, Professor Veronica Obatolu on Wednesday gave this advice during a one-day consultation workshop on irrigation development with the theme “Farmer-led irrigation and agricultural water management in South-West Nigeria: Panacea for climate change and food security.”

Obatolu who was represented by Deputy Director of the Institute, Dr Jelili Saka, maintained that the recent challenges of drought occasioned by weather variability are a wake-up call to increase the awareness and deployment of irrigation systems as an adaptation strategy in the region, Daily Post reports.

Her words, “In recent times, the challenges we now face with climate change and weather variability have made this meeting very important. It is estimated that this drought may have reduced crop yield by up to 40% of expected crop production this year.

“The bi-modal rainfall pattern that gives two cropping season – April to July and August to November – are no longer guaranteed. Average rainfall in the South Western Nigerian – from the Coastal and rainforest of Ogun/Lagos to the guinea savannah of Oyo North – is about 2000mm to 1200mm. However, the depth and distribution of rainfall is fast changing and the effect on the cropping systems are becoming clearly unbearable. I believe, the time has passed when we used to think “we do not need irrigation in the south”.

“Although, the deployment of irrigation technology is not new to us in Nigeria. Perhaps, either because of the ‘abundance’ of rain in the past or the peculiarities of our farming systems, the south west have not been aggressive in the approach to taking advantage of irrigation technology to ensure all-year-round production either at the smallholder or commercial scale.

“Therefore, the recent challenges of drought occasioned by weather variability is a wake-up call to increase the awareness and deployment of irrigation systems as an adaptation strategy. Farmer-led irrigation is being considered in the South West where there is huge irrigation infrastructural deficit.”

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