According to expert views, drip irrigation is a system whereby you give water or fertiliser directly to the root zone of plants, eliminating runoff, evaporation, and drift.
It is a technique in which water flows through a filter into special drip pipes, with emitters located at different spacing.
Mr Adebowole Onafowora, an agricultural entrepreneur explained that drip irrigation increases oxygen level at the root zone by more than 100 times, adding that although oxygen is not a major nutrient of plants, it aids them in absorbing nutrients and water.
Setting up a drip irrigation system for one’s farm involves connecting pipes namely drip lines or drip tapes and then water is released through the emitters, releasing about 1.5 litres to 20 litres of water per day depending on the water requirement of the crop.
The different types of emitters for irrigation include; micro emitters, porous emitters which are inbuilt from factory, and free flow emitters also inbuilt from factory, or improvised emitters from used water bottle containers and other suitable materials. He said a hectare of land requires N100,000 to N150,000 to do it yourself and with a little extra if you are hiring a professional.
On type of drips to use, he explained that the crop to be grown is the first thing to consider when going into drip irrigation, adding that drip lines that have stronger pipes and hose can last for up to three years or more.
Adebowole listed types of drip lines to include; the arrow head drip line which is best for root crops or crops that are heavy feeders like tomato, cucumber and pepper, adding that it has been designed to go into the root zone. Then there are, surface drip lines suitable for crops like watermelon and vegetables and drip tapes used majorly for irrigation only because it is not so good for fertiliser (fertigation).
The mist spraying drip which is an overhead drip line spraying water from the top is mostly used for foliar irrigation/fertigation of vegetables and leafy crops, he said.
He warned that the emitters can get clogged especially when you use it for fertigation and bush burning burns drip lines because they are made of plastic.