Most African countries have reached the Millennium Development Goals of reducing the percentage of populations who are in danger of starvation by improving their agricultural produce through irrigation schemes.
Agriculture is one of the biggest economic activity in many African countries
The continent has 60 percent of the world’s uncultivated land that is arable. Unpredictable weather conditions however pose a big challenge to the agricultural production. This has led to many countries adopting irrigation farming as a way of increasing food production
Some of the biggest irrigation schemes in Africa are;
It is located in Al Jazirah State, Sudan. The irrigation scheme was started in 1925 by the British colonialists. It uses water from River Nile which is based on gravity irrigation. Gezira Irrigation Scheme covers an area of 0.88 million hectares which is about 50 percent of the irrigated land in Sudan. Cotton is the main crop grown there. Other crops include sorghum, wheat and vegetables. It is one of the biggest irrigation scheme in the world, with over 100,000 farmers.
It is found in Kilifi and Tana River Counties, Kenya. It is the largest irrigation project in the country covering 400,000 hectares. It is funded by the Kenyan and Israel governments. The irrigation scheme was launched in 2012 and has fish, livestock and crop production.
The Office du Niger was created in 1932 as an autonomous public enterprise that administers a large irrigation scheme in the Ségou Region of Mali. It utilized water from the Niger River. The water is used to irrigate nearly 100,000 hectares of the flat alluvial plains to the north and northeast of Markala that form part of the Delta mort. Rice is the main crop grown in the irrigation scheme.
It is found in the Northern Cape Province, South Africa. It was started in 1934. It is the largest irrigation scheme in the country, covering about 36,950 ha of land. It has 1,040 farmers. The irrigation scheme got is name from the Harts and Vaal Rivers, where it draws its water from.
It is the largest irrigation scheme in Mozambique. It is located in Limpopo Valley, Chokwe District. The scheme draws water from the Massingir Dam. Chokwe Irrigation Scheme covers an area of 33, 000 hectares. The main crop grown there is rice. In early 2000, the scheme was hit by floods from the Limpopo Valley. It has struggled to recover since then.
It is located in Omusati region, Namibia. It is the biggest irrigation scheme in the country, covering 1,064 hectares. It was started in 1993. Maize is the main crop grown. Etunda Irrigation Scheme caters for both commercial and small-scale farming. Other crops grown here are wheat, cabbages, melons and onions.
The Middle Orange Irrigation Area comprises riparian irrigators from Hopetown to Boegoeberg Dam. The area irrigated from Marksdrift to Boegoeberg Weir amounts to approximately 15 434 ha. Irrigators in this area are not part of a formalized scheme with a common supply system. Irrigators abstract water directly from the Orange River individually basis and are supported with releases from Vanderkloof Dam.