List of Irrigation Schemes in Nigeria -
List of Irrigation Schemes in Nigeria

List of Irrigation Schemes in Nigeria

Nigeria, a country blessed with abundant natural resources, has made significant strides in agricultural development.

To ensure a sustainable and efficient agricultural system, irrigation schemes have played a pivotal role. These schemes are designed to optimize water usage, boost crop production, and enhance food security across the nation.

From the arid regions of the north to the lush vegetation of the south, Nigeria has implemented various irrigation schemes that cater to different geographical and agricultural needs.

This comprehensive list showcases the diverse irrigation schemes in Nigeria, highlighting the concerted efforts towards transforming the agricultural landscape and promoting economic growth through enhanced irrigation practices.

List of Irrigation Schemes in Nigeria

In Nigeria, irrigation schemes have been implemented to address the challenges posed by varying climatic conditions and to promote agricultural development across the country.

These schemes have been established to boost agriculture and support the nation’s quest for food security.

They have proven crucial in increasing crop productivity, improving food security, and enhancing the livelihoods of farmers.

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The list of irrigation schemes in Nigeria highlighted here comprises of both public and private developed schemes across the different regions of the country.

#1. Public Irrigation Schemes in Nigeria

  1. Kano River Irrigation Scheme
  2. Lower Anambra Irrigation Project
  3. Oyan Dam Irrigation Scheme
  4. Bakolori Irrigation Scheme
  5. Upper Ogun River Irrigation Scheme
  6. Hadejia Valley Irrigation Scheme
  7. Kano State Small Earth Dam Irrigation Scheme
  8. Kano State Irrigation, Drainage, and Rural Access Project (IDRAP)
  9. Middle Rima Valley Irrigation Scheme
  10. Katsina Ala Irrigation Scheme
  11. Ogoja Irrigation Scheme
  12. Goronyo Dam Irrigation Scheme
  13. Bakalori Dam Irrigation Scheme
  14. Dadin Kowa Dam Irrigation Scheme
  15. Mokwa Irrigation Scheme
  16. Cham Dam Irrigation Scheme
  17. Tada Shonga Irrigation Scheme
  18. Bagwai Irrigation Scheme
  19. Challawa Gorge Dam Irrigation Scheme
  20. Kano River Project Phase II

#2. Private Irrigation Schemes in Nigeria

  1. Dangote Rice Outgrower Scheme
  2. Olam Nigeria Rice Outgrower Scheme
  3. Dominion Farms Limited Irrigation Scheme
  4. Labana Rice Mills Outgrower Scheme
  5. Songhai Farms Irrigation Scheme
  6. Notore Farms Irrigation Scheme
  7. Miva Rice Farms Irrigation Scheme
  8. Edo State Oil Palm Estate Irrigation Scheme
  9. Integrated Farms Limited Irrigation Scheme
  10. WAMCO Dairy Farms Irrigation Scheme

Please note that this list is not exhaustive, and there may be additional irrigation schemes in Nigeria that are not included here.

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Types Of Irrigation Systems In Nigeria

In Nigeria, various types of irrigation systems are utilized to meet the diverse agricultural needs across different regions.

#1. Surface Irrigation

Surface irrigation is one of the most widely used methods in Nigeria. It involves the application of water over the soil surface and allowing it to infiltrate and reach the root zone of crops.

This method relies on gravity to distribute water and can be further categorized into furrow irrigation, border irrigation, and basin irrigation.

Surface irrigation is commonly used for rice cultivation and is well-suited for flat or gently sloping fields.

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#2. Sprinkler Irrigation

Sprinkler irrigation involves the use of overhead sprinklers or spray nozzles to distribute water over the crops.

This method mimics natural rainfall, and water is applied in the form of a spray or mist. Sprinkler irrigation is an ideal choice for crops that demand regular and consistent watering, such as vegetables, fruits, and flowers.

It helps conserve water by reducing evaporation and can be applied to fields with various topographies.

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#3. Drip Irrigation

Drip irrigation is a water-efficient system that delivers water directly to the plant roots. It involves the use of a network of pipes with emitters or drippers that release water in a controlled manner.

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Drip irrigation is highly efficient in minimizing water wastage and is suitable for crops with specific water requirements, such as fruits, vegetables, and high-value cash crops.

This method reduces weed growth, minimizes soil erosion, and allows precise nutrient application.

#4. Subsurface Irrigation

Subsurface irrigation is a method where water is delivered directly to the root zone of plants through buried perforated pipes or tubes.

It allows for controlled and efficient water distribution while minimizing evaporation losses.

Subsurface irrigation is well-suited for crops with shallow root systems or those sensitive to leaf wetting, such as root vegetables, tree nurseries, and some ornamental plants.

#5. Center Pivot Irrigation

Center pivot irrigation involves the use of a long, rotating arm with sprinklers attached, which pivots around a central point.

This system is commonly used for large-scale agriculture and covers a circular area. Center pivot irrigation provides uniform water distribution and is suitable for various crops, including grains, forage crops, and some fruits and vegetables.

#6. Solar-Powered Irrigation

Solar-powered irrigation systems utilize solar energy to power pumps and deliver water to crops.

This sustainable approach helps address energy challenges and reduces dependency on fossil fuels.

Solar-powered irrigation can be combined with various irrigation methods such as surface, sprinkler, or drip irrigation, providing farmers with a reliable and environmentally friendly water supply.

#8. Bucket Irrigation

Bucket irrigation, also known as manual irrigation, is a traditional and low-cost method used in Nigeria.

It involves manually carrying water in buckets or containers and pouring it directly onto the plant roots.

Farmers typically use this method for small-scale or backyard gardening, especially in areas with limited access to other irrigation systems.

Although it requires more labor and time, bucket irrigation can be an effective solution for watering individual plants or small plots.

Sources of Water for Irrigation in Nigeria

In Nigeria, various sources of water are utilized for irrigation purposes to meet the water requirements of crops. The notable ones include:

#1. Dams

Rivers and streams are significant sources of water for irrigation in Nigeria. Many irrigation schemes rely on nearby rivers and streams to provide a consistent water supply.

Water is typically extracted from these natural water bodies using pumps or gravity flow systems. Rivers such as Niger, Benue, and Sokoto-Rima, among others, serve as important water sources for irrigation in different regions of the country.

#3. Dams and Reservoir

Dams and reservoirs play a vital role in water storage and supply for irrigation in Nigeria.

These man-made structures capture and store water from rivers and other sources during the rainy season, ensuring a reliable water supply during dry periods.

Notable dams in Nigeria include Kainji Dam, Jebba Dam, Bakolori Dam, and Challawa Gorge Dam, among others.

Water released from these reservoirs is used for irrigation purposes through canal networks or pumping systems.

#3. Groundwater

Groundwater, obtained from wells and boreholes, is another important source of water for irrigation in Nigeria.

This source provides a reliable and accessible water supply, particularly in areas where surface water is scarce or unreliable.

Farmers use pumps, such as submersible pumps or hand pumps, to extract water from underground aquifers.

Groundwater irrigation has the advantage of being independent of seasonal rainfall, allowing for year-round irrigation and increased cropping intensity.

#4. Rainwater Harvesting

Rainwater harvesting encompasses the collection and storage of rainwater with the intention of utilizing it for irrigation purposes at a later time.

In Nigeria, where the climate is characterized by distinct wet and dry seasons, rainwater harvesting systems are employed to capture rainfall during the rainy season.

Techniques range from simple practices like using rooftop catchment systems to more sophisticated setups with storage tanks or ponds.

Rainwater harvesting provides an additional water source during the dry season, supplementing other irrigation sources and promoting water sustainability.

#5. Ponds and Lakes

Ponds and lakes are utilized as water sources for irrigation in Nigeria, especially in areas where natural water bodies exist or have been constructed.

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These bodies of water can be either permanent or temporary and can be used for surface irrigation systems.

Ponds are often used in aquaculture-based irrigation schemes, where water is sourced from the pond for irrigation purposes.

Lakes, such as Lake Chad and Lake Kainji, serve as important water sources for irrigation in their respective regions.

#6. Canals and Irrigation Channels

Canals and irrigation channels are man-made waterways that serve as conduits to transport water from larger water sources to the agricultural fields.

These channels distribute water efficiently within irrigation schemes, ensuring that crops receive an adequate water supply.

Canals are typically connected to rivers, reservoirs, or dams and are designed to deliver water to specific areas through a network of smaller channels and ditches.

Importance Of Irrigation Schemes In Nigeria

Irrigation schemes play a crucial role in Nigeria’s agricultural sector and contribute significantly to the nation’s food security and economic development.

These schemes are essential for the following reasons:

  1. Increased Crop Production: Irrigation schemes provide a reliable and controlled water supply, allowing farmers to cultivate crops throughout the year, regardless of seasonal rainfall patterns. This leads to increased crop yields and multiple cropping cycles, enhancing agricultural productivity and food production.
  2. Diversification of Agricultural Activities: Irrigation enables the cultivation of a wide range of crops, including high-value cash crops and fruits, which are not solely dependent on rainfed agriculture. This diversification promotes economic growth, generates employment opportunities, and boosts rural development.
  3. Mitigation of Climate Risks: Irrigation schemes help mitigate the risks associated with climate variability and droughts. By providing an alternative water source, farmers are less vulnerable to the uncertainties of rainfall, reducing crop losses and improving farmers’ resilience to climate change impacts.
  4. Poverty Alleviation: Irrigation schemes contribute to poverty reduction by increasing agricultural income and improving rural livelihoods. Farmers can secure a more stable and consistent income through enhanced crop production, allowing them to meet their basic needs, invest in their farms, and improve their standard of living.

Benefits Of Irrigation Schemes In Nigeria

Irrigation schemes in Nigeria offer various benefits, including:

  1. Enhanced Crop Quality: With controlled water supply, irrigation ensures optimal moisture levels for crops, resulting in improved crop quality, size, and appearance. This leads to higher market value and better marketability of agricultural produce.
  2. Increased Agricultural Efficiency: Irrigation systems allow efficient water distribution, minimizing water wastage and optimizing water use efficiency. This improves the overall efficiency of agricultural operations, reduces resource depletion, and conserves water resources.
  3. Expansion of Agricultural Land: Irrigation schemes facilitate the expansion of arable land by enabling cultivation in areas where rainfed agriculture is limited or unreliable. This helps to utilize Nigeria’s agricultural potential to the fullest, increasing the country’s overall agricultural production capacity.
  4. Support for Agro-industrial Development: Irrigation schemes provide a foundation for agro-industrial development by ensuring a consistent and adequate supply of raw materials for processing industries. This promotes value addition, job creation, and investment opportunities in the agricultural value chain.

Impact Of Irrigation Schemes In Nigeria

Irrigation schemes have significant impacts on Nigeria’s agricultural landscape, economy, and society, including:

  1. Improved Food Security: Irrigation contributes to increased food production, reducing dependence on rainfed agriculture and improving food security. It ensures a stable supply of food throughout the year, reducing the risks of food shortages and price fluctuations.
  2. Income Generation and Economic Growth: Irrigation schemes create income opportunities for farmers, boost agricultural productivity, and stimulate economic growth. Increased agricultural output leads to higher incomes, increased employment, and the growth of agribusinesses and rural industries.
  3. Rural Development and Poverty Reduction: Irrigation schemes promote rural development by attracting investments, improving infrastructure, and providing livelihood opportunities in rural areas. This, in turn, contributes to poverty reduction, addressing socio-economic disparities and improving the living conditions of rural communities.
  4. Environmental Impacts: Irrigation schemes can have both positive and negative environmental impacts. While irrigation enhances agricultural productivity, unsustainable water use practices and inadequate drainage systems can lead to waterlogging, salinization, and soil degradation. Careful water management and sustainable irrigation practices are necessary to minimize negative environmental impacts.

Limitations facing irrigation schemes in Nigeria

Irrigation schemes in Nigeria face several limitations, which can hinder their effectiveness and impact on agricultural development. Some of the key limitations include:

  1. Insufficient Infrastructure: One major limitation is the inadequate irrigation infrastructure in many parts of the country. This includes insufficient canal networks, dams, pumps, and water distribution systems. The lack of proper infrastructure limits the coverage and effectiveness of irrigation schemes.
  2. Inadequate Maintenance: Many irrigation schemes in Nigeria suffer from a lack of regular maintenance and upkeep. This leads to the deterioration of infrastructure, including canals, pumps, and irrigation channels. Without proper maintenance, the efficiency and functionality of the systems can be compromised.
  3. Limited Access to Water: Water scarcity and limited access to water sources pose a significant challenge to irrigation schemes in Nigeria. The uneven distribution of water resources, especially during dry seasons, can lead to insufficient water availability for irrigation purposes. Inadequate water management and storage facilities further exacerbate the issue.
  4. High Energy Costs: Power supply challenges and the high cost of energy can hinder the operation of irrigation systems, particularly those reliant on pumps and mechanized equipment. The lack of reliable and affordable energy sources can make it difficult for farmers to sustain irrigation activities and increase their reliance on rainfed agriculture.
  5. Financial Constraints: Limited financial resources and access to credit pose a significant limitation for irrigation schemes. The high upfront costs associated with the establishment and maintenance of irrigation infrastructure, as well as the purchase of equipment and inputs, can be a barrier for many farmers and irrigation project developers.
  6. Inadequate Technical Expertise: The lack of skilled manpower and technical expertise in irrigation management and operation is another limitation. Proper training and capacity building programs are necessary to equip farmers and irrigation scheme operators with the knowledge and skills needed for efficient irrigation practices.
  7. Environmental Concerns: Unregulated water extraction and inadequate drainage systems in some irrigation schemes can lead to waterlogging, salinization, and soil degradation. These environmental concerns need to be addressed through sustainable water management practices and appropriate land-use planning.
  8. Institutional Challenges: Inadequate coordination and collaboration among various stakeholders involved in irrigation schemes, such as government agencies, water management bodies, and farmers’ associations, can hinder effective implementation and management. Clear institutional frameworks, policies, and regulations are required to ensure efficient governance and coordination of irrigation schemes.
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History Of Irrigation In Nigeria

The history of irrigation in Nigeria dates back centuries, with evidence of ancient irrigation systems in regions like the Kanem-Borno Empire and the Benin Kingdom.

Traditional irrigation techniques involved the use of simple canals, dams, and scooping devices for water management.

In the 1970s, the Nigerian government recognized the importance of irrigation for agricultural development and began investing in large-scale irrigation projects.

These initiatives aimed to boost food production, improve rural livelihoods, and reduce dependence on rainfed agriculture.

Irrigation Journal PDF

An irrigation journal in PDF format provides a valuable resource for researchers, practitioners, and policymakers interested in studying and understanding irrigation practices in Nigeria.

This journal can contain articles, research papers, case studies, and technical reports focusing on various aspects of irrigation, including water management, irrigation techniques, crop-water requirements, and socio-economic impacts.

It serves as a repository of knowledge and promotes the dissemination of information, innovations, and best practices in the field of irrigation.

Draw A Sketch Map Of Nigeria And Indicate Six Major Rivers

  1. Niger River
  2. Benue River
  3. Sokoto River
  4. Cross River
  5. Kaduna River
  6. Imo River

These rivers play significant roles in Nigeria’s water resources and have a substantial impact on irrigation, agriculture, transportation, and hydroelectric power generation in the country.

Map Of Nigeria Showing The River Basins

The river basins in Nigeria are essential geographical features that influence water availability and irrigation planning. Although I cannot provide a map, the major river basins in Nigeria are:

  1. Niger Basin: Encompasses the Niger River and its tributaries, covering large parts of northern and central Nigeria.
  2. Benue Basin: Includes the Benue River and its tributaries, extending through central and eastern Nigeria.
  3. Sokoto Basin: Located in northwestern Nigeria, it comprises the Sokoto River and its tributaries.
  4. Cross River Basin: Situated in southeastern Nigeria, it covers the Cross River and its tributaries.
  5. Chad Basin: Extending into northeastern Nigeria, it includes the Komadugu Yobe River and other smaller rivers.
  6. Niger Delta Basin: Covers the Niger Delta region in southern Nigeria, with several rivers and distributaries.

These river basins play a vital role in water resource management, irrigation development, and socio-economic activities within their respective regions.

World Bank Trimming Project

Without specific details, it is challenging to provide an accurate description of the World Bank Trimming Project in Nigeria.

It is advisable to provide further information or clarification regarding the project to offer a more tailored response.


Nigeria boasts a diverse array of irrigation schemes aimed at improving agricultural productivity and food security. These schemes encompass various regions and crops, including rice, wheat, maize, and vegetables. Through effective irrigation practices and infrastructure development, Nigeria is striving to enhance water management and optimize agricultural output for sustainable growth in the sector.

Author: David

David is a Kenyan farmer from the rural village of Nairobi. Growing up, he was surrounded by the beauty of the Kenyan countryside, which sparked his passion for farming. After completing his education, he decided to pursue a career in agriculture and has since dedicated his life to providing food for his local community. David is an experienced farmer and is experienced in a range of agricultural practices, including crop rotation, animal husbandry and soil management. He is passionate about promoting sustainable agriculture and is actively working to reduce food insecurity in his community.

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