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The economics of low pressure drip irrigation and hand watering for vegetable production in the Sahel

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  • Woltering, Lennart
  • Ibrahim, Ali
  • Pasternak, Dov
  • Ndjeunga, Jupiter

Abstract

Low pressure drip irrigation is being promoted in Sub Saharan Africa as an alternative to traditional methods of small scale irrigation of vegetables. The African Market Garden (AMG) is a horticultural production system for smallholders based on low-pressure drip irrigation combined with an improved crop management package. The agronomic and economic performance of the AMG is compared to two gardens irrigated manually with watering cans. One of these gardens is managed according to the same improved crop management package as in the AMG, this treatment is called Improved Management (IM). The other garden is managed according to common practices of vegetable producers in the area, this treatment is called the Farmer Practice (FP). Crop productivity, labor and water use were monitored for two vegetable species (okra and eggplants). The experiment was performed on-station in Niger on three adjacent 500m2 plots in a sandy acid soil. It was found that improved crop management practices greatly enhance crop productivity over traditional methods at comparable production costs. The AMG gave higher crop yields and higher returns to investment than the treatments irrigated with watering cans. Labor accounts for up to 45% of the production cost in vegetable gardens irrigated by hand, where 80% of the producer time is spent on irrigation. The total labor requirement for the drip irrigated AMG was on average 1.1 man hours per day against 4.7 man hours per day for the Farmers Practice on a 500m2 garden. Returns on labor are at least double for the AMG against the other treatments. The returns on land from eggplant were found to be US$ 1.7, 0.8 and 0.1 per m2 for the AMG, IM and FP respectively. The returns on water for the cultivation of eggplant are around US$ 2 per m3 in the AMG, against US$ 0.1 in the Farmers Practice. This experiment showed the strong positive impact of drip irrigation and improved crop management practices on profits at minimal environmental costs, indicating that transformation of existing practices poses a considerable potential towards sustainable agricultural development.

Suggested Citation

  • Woltering, Lennart & Ibrahim, Ali & Pasternak, Dov & Ndjeunga, Jupiter, 2011. "The economics of low pressure drip irrigation and hand watering for vegetable production in the Sahel," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 67-73.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:agiwat:v:99:y:2011:i:1:p:67-73
    DOI: 10.1016/j.agwat.2011.07.017
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Drechsel, Pay & Graefe, S. & Sonou, M. & Cofie, Olufunke, 2006. "Informal irrigation in urban West Africa: An overview," IWMI Research Reports H039249, International Water Management Institute.
    2. Drechsel, Pay & Graefe, Sophie & Sonou, Moise & Cofie, Olufunke O., 2006. "Informal irrigation in urban West Africa: An overview," IWMI Research Reports 44572, International Water Management Institute.
    3. Batchelor, Charles & Lovell, Christopher & Murata, Monica, 1996. "Simple microirrigation techniques for improving irrigation efficiency on vegetable gardens," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 37-48, November.
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    1. Heitkämper, Katja & Stehle, Thomas & Schick, Matthias, 2015. "Working time requirement for different field irrigation methods," International Journal of Agricultural Management, Institute of Agricultural Management, vol. 4(2), January.
    2. Liu, Zeyuan & Xiao, Yang & Li, Yunkai & Zhou, Bo & Feng, Ji & Han, Siqi & Muhammad, Tahir, 2019. "Influence of operating pressure on emitter anti-clogging performance of drip irrigation system with high-sediment water," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 213(C), pages 174-184.
    3. Ortega-Reig, M. & Sanchis-Ibor, C. & Palau-Salvador, G. & García-Mollá, M. & Avellá-Reus, L., 2017. "Institutional and management implications of drip irrigation introduction in collective irrigation systems in Spain," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 187(C), pages 164-172.
    4. Mwangi, Joseph Kanyua & Crewett, Wibke, 2019. "The impact of irrigation on small-scale African indigenous vegetable growers’ market access in peri-urban Kenya," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 212(C), pages 295-305.

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