Conditions favouring cotton growing under irrigation on the Gezira scheme in Sudan

(i) The nature of the landscape (relief): The landscape is extremely flat and monotonous. This has provided a number of advantages including:-

  1. Easy construction of canals
  2. Easy mechanisation
  3. Easy construction of transport network.
  4. Gravitational flow of water through the canals due to the gentle sloping nature of the land.

(ii) Presence of water from the Niles for irrigation.
(iii) Availability of capital.
(iv) Presence of fertile loam soils at the initial stages.
(v) Clay soils which do not easily let water to go, so the canals do not require concrete.
(vi) Presence of labour.
(vii) Hot and dry climate that discourages multiplication of pests


The Difference Between Drip Irrigation and Surface Irrigation

Drip irrigation and surface irrigation are two commonly used methods in agriculture for delivering water to crops. Both methods aim to provide plants with the necessary water for growth and productivity. In this response, we will explore the key differences between drip irrigation and surface irrigation.

Differences between Drip Irrigation and Surface Irrigation:

Drip IrrigationSurface Irrigation
Delivers water directly to the plant roots through a network of small tubes and emitters.Applies water over the soil surface, allowing it to infiltrate and reach plant roots through gravity or capillary action.
Provides water in a controlled and precise manner, minimizing water loss due to evaporation or runoff.Relies on gravity to distribute water, which can result in more water loss through evaporation or runoff.
Requires a higher initial investment for the installation of drip lines, emitters, and a filtration system.Generally, has lower installation costs as it involves fewer specialized equipment or infrastructure.
Offers high water use efficiency since water is targeted directly at the plant root zone, reducing water waste.Water use efficiency can be lower due to potential losses from evaporation and runoff.
Allows for precise control over the application rate and frequency of irrigation, which can be adjusted based on plant needs.Provides less flexibility in adjusting water application rates, often relying on predetermined application depths or timings.
Suitable for a wide range of crops, including row crops, orchards, and vegetable gardens.Commonly used for larger-scale farming, such as field crops and pasture irrigation.
Reduces the risk of weed growth as water is delivered specifically to the plant roots, minimizing wetting of unplanted areas.May promote weed growth, especially if water spreads beyond the desired crop area, providing moisture for weed germination.
Requires careful maintenance to ensure proper functioning of emitters, filter cleaning, and prevention of clogging.Maintenance requirements are relatively simpler, often involving regular maintenance of irrigation channels and gates.
Well-suited for areas with limited water resources, as it allows for efficient water use and potential water savings.May be less suitable in water-scarce regions or areas with inadequate infrastructure for water distribution.

Conclusion: Drip irrigation and surface irrigation are irrigation methods with distinct characteristics and benefits. Drip irrigation offers precise water delivery, high efficiency, reduced water waste, and better control over irrigation scheduling. It is commonly used in a variety of agricultural settings.

On the other hand, surface irrigation provides a simpler and less costly irrigation solution, although it may be associated with higher water losses and less precision. The choice between drip irrigation and surface irrigation depends on factors such as crop type, available water resources, infrastructure, and budget considerations.



The term irrigation farming simply refers to the process whereby water is occasionally or constantly applied to the growing crops. Irrigation farming is practiced under the following conditions.

  • Where an area receives little and unreliable rainfall, unable to sustain crop growing.
  • Where the area is experiencing a high evaporation rate making rainfall unreliable.
  • Where there is need to increase on agricultural productivity of the area, especially food crops in order to produce enough food.
  • Where the crops grown require excess water during their growth e.g. vegetable.


  • Availability and accessibility of water resources.
  • Relief which is gently sloping.
  • Good soils such as loam soil.
  • A large capital base and technical know how since the equipment used may be advanced scientifically.


  • Basin irrigation, commonly known as flood irrigation. This type of irrigation was practiced in Egypt for a long time.
  • Perennial Irrigation which involves supplying water to the growing crops throughout the year.
  • Annual irrigation
  • Tank irrigation, occasional rainfall water is tapped and stored so that it can be used during the dry season.
  • Well irrigation, water is collected from the well by a shaft.


  • Overhead sprinkler i.e. water is pumped through a tube up to the air and sprinkles in form of rain.
  • Drip irrigation, this involves setting up of pipes with small holes in them. Water drips out through the holes at a low pressure.
  • Canal irrigation, this involves construction of water cannals serving the growing crops where water is needed. This method of irrigation is commonly carried out in gently sloping area.



Irrigation agriculture plays a vital role in the Nile River basin, offering numerous benefits for the region. Here are ten key importance of irrigation agriculture along the Nile River basin:

  1. Increased Agricultural Productivity: Irrigation allows farmers to have better control over water availability, ensuring consistent water supply for crop growth throughout the year. This leads to increased agricultural productivity and improved crop yields, supporting food security and livelihoods.
  2. Diversification of Crops: Irrigation enables farmers to cultivate a wider range of crops, including high-value and cash crops. With reliable water supply, farmers can grow crops that are not dependent on rainfall alone, expanding their options and income potential.
  3. Extended Growing Seasons: Irrigation extends the growing seasons beyond the limitations of the rainy season. This allows farmers to have multiple cropping cycles throughout the year, maximizing land use and agricultural production.
  4. Mitigation of Drought Effects: In regions prone to drought, irrigation offers a reliable water source to sustain crop growth during dry periods. It helps buffer against the impacts of droughts, reducing the vulnerability of agriculture to climate variability.
  5. Employment and Rural Development: Irrigation agriculture creates employment opportunities, particularly in rural areas along the Nile River basin. It supports rural livelihoods, reduces poverty, and contributes to overall economic development in the region.
  6. Enhanced Water Management: Irrigation systems require efficient water management practices, including water distribution, measurement, and control. By implementing such practices, irrigation agriculture promotes responsible and sustainable use of water resources within the Nile River basin.
  7. Crop Diversification and Nutrition: With irrigation, farmers can cultivate a variety of crops, leading to increased dietary diversity and improved nutrition for local communities. It allows for the production of fruits, vegetables, and other nutritious crops, contributing to better health outcomes.
  8. Value Chain Development: Irrigation agriculture facilitates the development of agricultural value chains by providing a consistent supply of raw materials. This promotes agribusiness, agro-processing, and the growth of related industries, generating economic opportunities and attracting investments.
  9. Environmental Protection: Well-managed irrigation systems can contribute to environmental protection. By optimizing water use and minimizing wastage, irrigation reduces the pressure on natural water sources, preserves ecosystems, and minimizes soil erosion.
  10. Regional Cooperation: The development of irrigation agriculture along the Nile River basin fosters regional cooperation among riparian countries. It provides a platform for collaboration, knowledge sharing, and joint efforts in water management, leading to mutual benefits and sustainable development.

Overall, irrigation agriculture along the Nile River basin plays a crucial role in increasing agricultural productivity, ensuring food security, promoting economic development, and mitigating the impacts of climate variability. It is a key driver of livelihoods, employment, and regional cooperation, contributi


To address the challenges facing irrigation agriculture along the Nile River basin, here are ten potential solutions:

  1. Integrated Water Management: Implement integrated water management approaches that consider the needs of all water users, including agriculture, industry, and domestic sectors. This involves coordinated planning, water allocation, and efficient use of water resources.
  2. Infrastructure Development: Invest in the development and maintenance of irrigation infrastructure, including dams, canals, and water storage facilities. Improving infrastructure helps ensure efficient water distribution and reduces losses during transport.
  3. Modernization of Irrigation Techniques: Promote the adoption of modern irrigation techniques, such as drip irrigation and sprinkler systems. These methods improve water use efficiency by delivering water directly to plant roots, reducing evaporation and runoff.
  4. Water Conservation Practices: Encourage farmers to adopt water conservation practices, such as mulching, crop rotation, and proper soil management. These practices help retain soil moisture, minimize water loss, and improve overall water efficiency.
  5. Capacity Building: Provide training and capacity building programs for farmers and irrigation practitioners. Enhancing knowledge and skills in water management, irrigation techniques, and sustainable farming practices can lead to better outcomes in irrigation agriculture.
  6. Research and Development: Invest in research and development to improve crop varieties, water-efficient technologies, and irrigation management practices specifically tailored to the conditions of the Nile River basin. This can help farmers optimize productivity while minimizing water requirements.
  7. Participatory Approaches: Involve local communities, farmers, and stakeholders in decision-making processes related to irrigation agriculture. Engaging them in planning, implementation, and management ensures that solutions are context-specific and socially inclusive.
  8. Climate Resilience: Develop climate-resilient irrigation systems and practices that can withstand the challenges of climate change, including prolonged droughts and increased variability in rainfall patterns. This may involve the use of climate-smart technologies and adaptive management approaches.
  9. Cross-border Cooperation: Foster collaboration and cooperation among riparian countries sharing the Nile River basin. Establish joint mechanisms for water sharing, data exchange, and coordinated water management strategies to address common challenges and promote sustainable irrigation practices.
  10. Policy and Governance Reforms: Review and improve policy frameworks and governance structures related to water management and irrigation agriculture. Ensure that regulations are supportive, transparent, and encourage sustainable practices. Strengthen institutions responsible for water management and promote accountability.

By implementing these solutions, it is possible to address the challenges facing irrigation agriculture along the Nile River basin, enhance water productivity, and promote sustainable agricultural practices that benefit both farmers and the environment.


Irrigation agriculture along the Nile River basin faces various challenges that can affect its productivity and sustainability. Here are ten challenges commonly encountered:

  1. Water Scarcity: The availability of water resources in the Nile River basin is limited, and water scarcity poses a significant challenge for irrigation agriculture. Population growth, competing water demands, and climate change further exacerbate the scarcity issue.
  2. Unequal Water Distribution: The distribution of water resources within the Nile River basin is uneven, leading to disparities in water availability for irrigation. Upstream countries have a significant influence on water flow, which can affect downstream agricultural activities.
  3. Conflicts and Water Politics: The utilization and management of water resources in the Nile River basin have led to conflicts among riparian countries. Disputes over water rights, dams, and irrigation infrastructure can hinder cooperation and coordination in irrigation agriculture.
  4. Inadequate Infrastructure: The lack of sufficient irrigation infrastructure, including dams, canals, and irrigation systems, hampers efficient water delivery and distribution. Insufficient infrastructure limits the potential for expanding irrigation agriculture and improving water-use efficiency.
  5. Sedimentation and Siltation: Sedimentation and siltation are significant challenges in the Nile River basin, particularly due to soil erosion in upstream areas. The deposition of sediments in irrigation canals and reservoirs reduces water storage capacity and affects water flow.
  6. Salinity and Water Quality: High soil salinity and poor water quality are concerns in some parts of the Nile River basin. Excessive irrigation without proper drainage can lead to salt accumulation in the soil, rendering it unsuitable for agriculture. Contamination from pollutants and untreated wastewater also affects water quality.
  7. Lack of Financial Resources: Limited financial resources and investment in irrigation infrastructure and agricultural development can impede the expansion and improvement of irrigation agriculture along the Nile River basin.
  8. Technological Constraints: Outdated or inappropriate irrigation technologies and practices can hinder the efficiency and sustainability of irrigation agriculture. The lack of access to modern irrigation methods, such as drip irrigation or precision agriculture, limits water-use efficiency and productivity.
  9. Climate Change: The Nile River basin is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including changes in rainfall patterns, increased temperatures, and droughts. These climate-related challenges can affect water availability, crop growth, and agricultural productivity in the region.
  10. Socioeconomic Factors: Socioeconomic factors, such as poverty, inadequate education, and limited access to markets and credit, can hinder the development and adoption of sustainable irrigation agriculture practices. These factors can limit farmers’ capacity to invest in modern irrigation technologies and practices.

Addressing these challenges requires collaborative efforts among riparian countries, improved water management strategies, investment in infrastructure development, promotion of sustainable irrigation practices, and the integration of climate-resilient approaches. By addressing these challenges, irrigation agriculture along the Nile River basin can become more sustainable, resilient, and productive.

WASSCE 2023 PROVISIONAL INTERNATIONAL TIMETABLE ( UPDATED JANUARY 11, 2023) (for candidates in The Gambia, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone)

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