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1.1       Introduction

Rapid population growth and extensive damage from natural diseases have intensified the worldwide struggle for adequate food supplies. Thus, the urgency of increasing food production becomes patently obvious while one of the base inputs required for achieving this still remains water. If adequate supply and control of water are not ensured. It is very difficult to grow crops and vegetables more than a year. Conversely, to achieve optimum production of these farm produce, adequate use of available natural resources or development of new natural resources becomes necessary if starvation and malnutrition and their related problem are to be minimized. This study is based on analysis of irrigation farming along river Kubani, Zaria Local Government area.

In Nigeria urban centers, intensive farming activities comprises staple food crops take place mostly during early season while vegetables farming (such as cabbage, fadama, maize, etc) which is commercial focused is all season but rely serious on constant and adequate supply of irrigation water. Vegetables contribute minerals, vitamins, and fiber to the diet. Mineral are naturally occurring inorganic substances with a definite chemical composition and an ordered atomic arrangement. Among the plants, vegetables are the excellent sources of minerals, and also are very important and essential ingredients for normal metabolic activities of body tissue. Out of 92 naturally occurring minerals, 25 are present in living organisms. These are constituent of bones, teeth, blood, muscles, hair and nerves cells. Vitamins cannot be properly assimilated without the correct balances of minerals (Alvarez, 2002).

Irrigation involves the convergence of water from a source of supply to an area of land where it is needed for the cultivation of crops (Jackson, 1996). Irrigation is important for sustenance of agricultural practices across many cultures. Irrigation farming is infact one of the most productive forms of agriculture (Crump, 1991). According to Crump, the world’s irrigated cropland already produce 40 percent of total global crop yield and it was expected that as at 2000 A.D, 400 million hectares of land would have been irrigated world wide (Crump, 1991). There is now way urban agriculture (particularly vegetable farming could have been sustainable without irrigation. Urban agriculture as conceptualized by Mougeot (1994) is an industry located within (intra-urban) or on the fringe (peri-urban) of town a city or a metropolis which grows and raises, processes and a=distribution a diversity of crop and animal food and non food products. (re) using largely human and material resources, products and services, found in and around that urban area, and in turn supplying human and materials resources, products and services largely to that urban area vegetables production is a components in urban agriculture that is intensive in land use and this is the focus of the researched. Vegetables’ farming is done in both wet and dry season with each season requiring different resources. Understanding the seasonal variation is required for sustaining urban agriculture in the study areas.

In view of this, the study will provide information on examine the urban irrigation farming along River Kubanni of Zaria local government area.

1.2       Statement of the Research Problem

The Kubani River is one of the most important river draining in Zaria and its environment. Much considerations and attention have been given to this because of the numerous farming and irrigation activities that take place seasonally along its course, as well as its economies importance to the inhabitants.

A great number of Zaria peasants have farms along the course of the River, from which they obtained their food stuffs (such as maize, rice, sugarcane, and vegetables (such as tomatoes, garden egg, carrot, lettuce, cabbage, onions etc).

Substantial irrigation farming takes place along the Kubani River which drains Zaria local government area. This study focuses on the analysis of this activity. This activity has been going on for a long period of time. However, there is not much information on this activity in terms of number of farmers and the scale of their operation.

Furthermore, the dry season is usually a challenging period for farmers with an average precipitation that is below 60 millimetres and lack of watering holes, farmers face many challenges in planting. Dry season farming is not profitable for crops production. This is because there are no irrigation facilities in most parts of the country. Some farmland in the north has become degraded. Also, the climate is changing the outlooks of farming.

Farmers face unpredictable weather brought on by climate change. Sometimes the rainy season come late at other times it ends early. Sometimes the rainy come late and hard, causing floods. At other times rains don’t come at all, causing drought it is difficult for farmers to plants to prepare land, when to plant and how to plant other farming tasks. Worst hit are those from the north who have to respond to serious weather changes, making it difficult for them to farm during dry season which runs from October to May. The weather during this period is much hotter and drier. For this reason farmers adopt various agricultural practices confront these difference in weather patterns. Subsequently the problem of the agriculture in this study area was low technical capacity or poor technical efficiency.

1.3       Aim

The aim of this study is to provide such information by analysing dry season irrigation farming along River kubani in Zaria local government area.

1.4       Research Questions

This study attempts to analyse the irrigation farming along river kubani in Zaria local government area by taking the vegetables production as a case study. The following research questions were formulated.

1.      What are the income obtained by the selected open cultivators of these excavation pits?

2.      What categories of farming activities are been taking along River Kubani in Zaria local government area?

3.      What categories of farming activities increase employment generation in the study area?

4.      What are the challenges of irrigation farming activities in the study area?

1.5       Objectives

The specific objectives are to:

1.      Analyse the income obtained by the selected open cultivators of these excavation pits?

2.      Analyse the categories of farming activities taking along river kubani in Zaria local government area.

3.      Analyse the categories of farming activities which increase employment generation in the study area

4.      Examine the challenges of irrigation farming activities in the study area.

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