Fadama farming has contributed significantly to Nigeria’s agriculture in particular and the country in general, but the contributions have remained largely unmeasured.  As a result, this study examined the influence of the National Fadama Development Project on Fadama farmers in Kano State. Primary and secondary data were sought.  A set of questionnaires was developed and information was collected from 108 respondents who were randomly selected from the three agricultural zones in the study area. Multiple regression analysis and simple statistical tools, such as, means, frequency, range and percentages were used to realize the objectives of the study.  Analysis of the data revealed that fadama farming was a profitable venture among the farmers studied.  A majority of respondents owned and purchased their farm land and the houses they lived in.  A large percentage also owned radio, television, bicycle and irrigation pump. Water from tube-wells and wash bores were used for irrigation and drinking. The customary land system was practiced in the study area.  About 46% of the respondents inherited their farm land while 26.9% purchased theirs. Majority of respondents practiced mixed cropping to ensure maximum plot utilization. There was efficient use of facilities provided by the loan package.  Inputs such as pumps, fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides were used by farmers.  Respondents also admitted adequate visit to farms by extension agents. There was a significant difference between the average income of the two groups (beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries) at a probability level of 95%. Some constraints, such as, high cost of farm inputs, chronic shortage of petrol and petroleum products, seasonal glut of some perishable agricultural commodities, poor storage facilities, poor access roads to Fadama areas and difficulties in getting registered as  members of Fadama Users Association (FUA), were experienced by respondents. Recommendations included subsidization of prices of fertilizers and other farm inputs, frequent conduct of soil survey to determine level of salinity, creation of more micro credit facilities to enhance productivity and provision of infrastructural facilities.



  • Background Information

Agricultural production in Nigeria remains essentially traditional with cultivation largely undertaken at individual level using local implements (Abdullahi, 1983). This traditional method and the subsistence nature of agricultural production help in perpetuating the vicious cycle of poverty and restricting the farmer’s ability to embrace modern technology (Bala, 1992).  The food security situation in Nigeria has been deteriorating over the past 15 to 20 years.  Per capital food production has declined more than 15% in the past 20 years (UN, 1992).

As a way of boosting agricultural production, government introduced modern irrigation scheme in the country.  Although the concept of irrigation farming has been practiced in Nigeria for several decades, the introduction of modern irrigation is a government initiative.

Modern irrigation in Nigeria can be traced back to the pioneering efforts of Colonel Collins, a British Colonial officer who, after a survey of the irrigation potentials of Northern Nigeria in the 1900s, developed 243 hectares of land for irrigation.  This was followed in 1949 by the establishment of an irrigation division in the Ministry of Agriculture of the Northern Region with the main objective of initiating small-scale irrigation schemes (Dawakintofa, 1989).

Another major step in irrigation development in Nigeria was the Food and Agricultural Organizations (FAO) report of 1965, which stressed the need for the Federal Government’s active involvement in planned water resources and irrigation development for the country.  Consequent upon the Food and Agricultural Organization’s report, the Chad and the Sokoto Rima-Basin Development Authority was established by Decree numbers 32 and 33 of 14th August, 1973.Kano State Government,(1995). In 1976, the River Basin Development Authorities were expanded to eleven in number by Decree number 36 of 25th June and Decree Number 37 of 3rd August, 1976 (Dawakintofa, 1989).  These Authorities were charged with the responsibilities of constructing and maintaining dams, polders, wells, boreholes and drainage systems for irrigation purposes.  There was also the Bakolori Irrigation Scheme, which was established in consonant with the laid down guidelines for irrigation development (KNARDA Baseline Survey, 1993).

These schemes attracted generous funding from government.  Inspite of the enormous sum of money (2.25 billion) and the facilities provided, the schemes had limited success (Samorock, 1983). For instance, the total irrigated area proposed to be accomplished by the River Basin Development Authorities for the Nation was 1,999,139 hectares (Nwa and Martins, 1982).  But as at 1980, only 25,754 hectares had been developed.  Only about 77,369 hectares were expected to be developed by 1991 (Abdullahi et al, 1989).  This is about 4% of the total land meant for development.  Salihu (1986) and Dawakintofa (1989) attributed the limited success of the early irrigation schemes to the fact that the plans were developed without much consideration of economic and social problems.

Fadama” is an Hausa word meaning low-lying swamp area consisting of fluvial deposit and containing extensive exploitable aquifers” (Gandi and Radashekara, 1989).  Fadama also refers to a seasonally flooded area used for farming during the dry season.  It is defined as an alluvial, low land formed by erosion and depositional action of the rivers and streams (Qureshi, 1989).  The extent and subsurface formation of the Fadama land depend on the terrain over which the rivers are formed and flowed.

They can also be referred to as flood prone, low lying, slow drainage areas that generally possess a finer texture and less acid soils.  Fadama lands are regarded as very rich agricultural areas.  They encompass land and water resources that could easily be developed for irrigation agriculture (World Bank, 1992).  In Nigeria, this type of rich irrigable land can be found along the flood plains of the Niger, Sokoto-Rima, Benue, Nassarawa, Yobe and Hedejamaari river systems.  Fadama land covers about 4.9 million hectares in the country (BSADP, 1994).  It is therefore necessary to harness it in order to accelerate agricultural production.

Inadequate and uneven distribution of rainfall in the arid and semi arid North, prompted some state governments to initiate Fadama through small-scale irrigation system (Abdullahi and Phillip, 1989).  The enclave states, which pioneered the Programme, were Kano, Bauchi, Jigawa, Gombe, Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi.

The staff appraisal report (SAR) estimated that traditional irrigation was practiced in over 60,000 hectares of Fadama land of which 13,000 were cultivated for dry season vegetable production while the whole of it could be used for summer rice production under semi-controlled flooding, primarily in the Hedejia valley area (APMEU, 1991).

This Fadama development component, covering 27,400 hectares in Kano State, comprised; (i) Fadama intensification – bonding of run-off and using residual moisture to produce a second crop planted in September/ October on 14,700 hectares;   (ii) the use of wells (usually not exceeding 7m deep) and making 1,500, 3″ diesel pumps and 4,600 hand pumps available through the Kano Agricultural Supply Company (KASCO) to replace Shadoof and bring an incremental 6,800 hectares into production; and  (iii) improved flood irrigation of rice by bonding an estimated 5,900 hectares to allow two crops a year.

Incremental crop production achieved by these activities  amounted to 29 million annually up to the end of project life cycle of five years.  This technique was found to be cheaper than the large-scale system and more efficient than the traditional method of irrigation.  While small-scale irrigation costs US1, 000 ( 80,000) per hectare, large-scale irrigation scheme cost US10, 000 (800,000) per hectare all at the 1990 prices (World Bank 1992).   The small-scale irrigation scheme took off in Kano State in 1982 with loan effectiveness. The irrigation component started-off primarily with the introduction of extension services and the sale of pumps.

1.2     National Fadama Development Project

The Agricultural Development Projects (ADPs) has been identified as the most successful strategy towards agricultural development in Nigeria (World Bank, 1992).  The system, which consists of several sub-programmes and its related components, is specifically designed to address the small holder sub-sector in its agricultural development efforts.  One of such sub-programmes/components is Fadama development (KNARDA Baseline Survey, 1997).  This small-scale, low cost, farmer managed irrigation Fadama programme had been adjudged successful initiation of the agricultural development project system (World Bank, 1992).

Evidence showed that, there existed great potentials for Fadama development of which only about 7% was then being exploited (SAR, 1990 NFDP).  It was in realization of this that the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) in 1991, requested a World Bank loan of US67.5 (N536.00) million to finance a project for developing Fadama lands (flood plains) by introducing small-scale irrigation.  The loan was to assist Fadama Development projects in states meeting pre-determined eligibility criteria.  The project is currently being implemented in Kano, Bauchi, Jigawa, Kebbi and Sokoto States which have pioneered Fadama development.  These facilities were expected to assist beneficiary states consolidate pilot Fadama Development Projects by;

(i)         financing the provision of shallow tube wells in Fadama land for small-scale irrigation;

(ii)        constructing about 7,000 wash bore, tube wells in Kano State through private contractors;

(iii)       constructing Fadama Infrastructure based on the experiences of on-going Agricultural Development  Projects (ADPs), Fadama roads and storage facilities;

(iv)       formation of  institutional  development.  Fadama farmers would be organised into Fadama Users Associations (FUA).  The union would serve as a single contact points for services to farmers, and

(v)       providing planning assistance free-of-charge to interested farmers.

In order to ensure fair allocation of resources to eligible states, certain criteria were employed as measurement indicators to evaluate the performance of the Agricultural Development Projects (NFDP Baseline Survey, 1996). The proposed Fadama land to be covered under the National Fadama Development project in Kano State was 27,400 ha; out of a total of 163,000 ha of the main Fadama and their flood plains. The project is expected to benefit 430,000 farm families, cultivating an average of 2.8 hectares. The project intervention is expected to raise the assured project preliminary feasibility study yield of 2.0 for wheat to 2.5 t/ha and vegetables from 9.0 t/ha to 13t/ha, while rice, would increase from 2.5 t/ha to 3.5 t/ha (World Bank, 1992).   However, to assess the performance of the Fadama loan package, it is pertinent to make a cross comparison between the non-beneficiaries of Fadama loan with their counterpart beneficiaries.


1.3       Problem Statement

Successive Nigerian governments have initiated various agricultural and food production strategies to execute a wide range of agricultural programmes through irrigation agriculture but have failed to achieve their expectations to boost agricultural production (Salihu, 1986i Gana, 1986).  Food output has been so  low that there is a widening gap between crop output and quantity needed (RMSMN, 1993).

In order to realise the dream of increased food production, the Federal Government identified small-scale, low-cost managed irrigation pilot scheme by the Agricultural Development Projects (ADPs) as the most efficient technique that can accelerate the pace of food production in the country.  To enhance the involvement of more farmers in the project, the Federal Government sought the assistance of the World Bank loan for a National Fadama Development Project.

Fadama loan package attracted both small and large-scale farmers in the loan disbursement process through registration with Fadama Users Association (FUA).  The programme operated on the basis of full-cost recovery with built in rebates which serve as incentive for prompt repayment.  Prevailing commercial bank lending rate was used.  The pilot scheme ended by September, 1998 and the scheme was extrapolated to the rest of the states in Nigeria.


1.4       Objectives of the Study

The broad objective of this study is to assess the influence of the National Fadama Development Project on Fadama farmers in Kano State.

The specific objectives are to;

  • Ascertain the extent of use of facilities provided through the loan package by beneficiaries;
  • compare the crop output, farm income, farm size and labour use of beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries;
  • identify the major problems of Fadama farming in the study area; and
  • make policy recommendations for improving Fadama farming, based on findings.


1.5       Research Hypotheses

In line with the research objectives, the following null hypotheses were tested;

There is no significant difference between;

  • the farm output, of loan beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries;
  • the farm size of beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries and
  • the farm income of beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries

1.6       Justification for the Study

The findings of this study will serve as a motivating force for non-beneficiaries of National Fadama Development Project loan to embrace the loan package. The outcome of the study will also enable both Fadama farmers and the loan beneficiaries (Fadama users association) to adjust positively to their farming activities to enhance optimal level of output.

A comparative study of beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries of the loan in Kano State will provide the opportunity for assessing the influence of the National Fadama Development Project (NFDP) loan scheme on Fadama Development. Information revealed by the study, with respect to loan patronage, increased Fadama cultivation and farm output will motivate participants and credit agencies resulting in a good base for the take-off of the second phase of the projects.

It is therefore anticipated that the findings of this investigation will serve as an information source for research scholars, policy makers and operator of Agricultural Sector for effective policy formulation and good management.