It is a known fact that drip irrigation technology is the most efficient type of irrigation in Nigeria and indeed worldwide. Drip irrigation saves water and it is environment friendly. One of the most significant merits of using drip irrigation by farmers is because it improves the profitability of farmers.
With drip irrigation, a farmer can reduce a lot of his costs. For example, a farmer who uses labourers or farm hands to side dress fertilisers on his crop can easily remove this cost by fertigating with the aid of drip irrigation.
A farmer who is profitable can further optimize his farm profit by using drip irrigation. Drip irrigation can significantly increase yield and optimize the profit of farmers.
What is farm profit optimization?
Farm profit optimization is the strategy used to improve the profit of a farm to the highest level. With drip irrigation, the yield of crops can be maximized; this can lead to farm profit optimization. Better yield in most cases leads to improved profitability.
For example, the presence of nematodes and the ineffective way of applying nematicides can be the reason why the profit of a farm is minimal. The use of drip irrigation can make it possible to reduce the cost of applying nematicides and increase the effectiveness of nematicides application; this can go a long way in improving the profit of a farm.
How farmers can increase their profits with the aid of drip irrigation systems
The following are the ways farmers can increase their profit with the use of drip irrigation systems:
The application of pesticides: Systemic fungicides and insecticides can be applied to crops with the aid of drip irrigation systems. The venture injector or dosing pump in a typical drip irrigation system can be used to pass systemic insecticides and fungicides to the root zone of plants, once the plants take up these pesticides, any insects that bite the leaves or stems will die, it will also make it difficult for fungal growth to occur on the plants. This strategy can save the cost of physical application of pesticides by labourers.
Application of fertilisers: I am sure that you have seen labourers side dressing plants with fertilisers. This is time consuming, labour intensive and very expensive. A farm owner may need up to 10 labourers to apply fertilisers by hand to a 10 acre farm in a day. With drip irrigation, all a farmer needs is to use a venture injector to inject fertilizer solution to the drip irrigation system. This will erase the need for labourers, reduce cost and boost farm profit.
Intermittent application of fertilisers: Farmers in most cases apply fertilisers once, maybe once in 4 weeks. With drip irrigation, fertilizers can be applied in small doses to crops every day or intermittently. Research has proven that intermittent application of fertilisers to plants frequently can increase yield by as much as 150% as compared to side dressing and broadcasting of fertilisers.
Availability of water all year round: In Nigeria, most farmers cultivate their crops only during the rainy season. With drip irrigation, crops can be cultivated in the dry season, so the farmer will have the opportunity to sell all year round, this can boost the farmer’s profit.
Case studies of farmers that increased their yields by using drip irrigation kits
Below are the cases of some farmers that increased their yield and profitability through the use of drip irrigation systems:
Case 1: Mallam Sanni has been growing tomatoes in Kano for over 15 years; he barely gets 2 tonnes per acre of tomatoes every year. In some years, he never gets anything due to disease outbreak.
An agronomist from an NGO in Kano introduced drip irrigation system to Mallam Sanni. Mallam Sanni tried the irrigation kits with fertigation and he got a yield of 15 tonnes per acre. He was shocked. Mallam Sanni now makes about N4 million every year from his tomato farm, thanks to drip irrigation, he can also plant tomatoes all year round. Hitherto, Mallam Sanni makes just N200,000 every year from his tomato farm.
Case 2: Sola, a 39 year old farmer in Saki, Oyo state has been growing pepper for 10 years. Suddenly, he realized that his pepper plants were not doing well. He tried all he could but he could not save his pepper plants. His yield and profit fell by 90%.
He was introduced to drip irrigation and chemigation. Sola installed his drip irrigation and started applying nematicides and pesticides to the roots of his plants. Today, he has increased his yield by 150% and also increased his profit by 210%.
With drip irrigation, a farmer can optimize his profit and yield.