Assessing irrigation projects performance for sustainable irrigation policy reform

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This study examines the socio-economic and financial performances of irrigation projects under the Ogun-Oshun River Basin and Rural Development Authority (O-ORBRDA) in Nigeria. Primary data on the farming activities of the project farmers during the 2001/02 seasons and the projects' records for the period of 1995/96 to 2001/02 were summarised into socio-economic and financial performance indicators. In the Sepeteri Project, a revenue recovery level of 96% was estimated. The project is not financially viable as only 29% of its recurrent expenditure is covered. The farmers do not show commitment to making the project successful. An approximate 67% social capacity level was estimated. The relative irrigation cost and profit indexes do not show sufficient evidence that farmers would prefer irrigation farming to rain-fed farming. The Itoikin Project records a lower revenue recovery level of 75%. The project covers about 50% of its recurrent expenditure. In addition, the farmers do not appear to have a commitment to making the project successful, with a 33% social capacity level. A number of problems may be the causes of unprofitable irrigated cropping. If government increases the subvention, the O-ORBRDA prioritises irrigation service in disbursing the subvention to the projects, and the project manages the risks in the project sites, conscientises and incorporates the intended beneficiaries into managing the projects, the projects would be equipped to supply more irrigation services thereby making it more profitable and encouraging more participation of the intended beneficiaries. This would improve the socio-economic and financial performance of the projects.

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