Drip Irrigation System Can Increase Citrus Production up to 50 Percent

A Case Study
Goshta District – Nangarhar Province
September 22,2020

Citrus is an important irrigated crop, where water is the most limiting factor for crop production. Water is essential for citrus trees (or for any plant); because it is an integral component of the biochemical reactions that occur within the plant.
Water is also important; because it is the carrier that moves plant nutrients and other substances throughout the tree. Water also helps maintain plant temperature through transpiration. Finally, water helps maintain leaf and fruit turgidity.
Fruit yield is highly affected by the amount of water received in both current and previous growing seasons.
When the plants do not get enough water, the growth is slowed, young fruits fall and the mature fruit lacks sugar and quality. Also, vegetative growth is reduced, limiting the number of new fruit-bearing branches. The roots and leaves do not develop properly, which affect the number and size of the fruit and accentuates alternate bearing, which is the high production in one year followed by the lower production in the next year.
A drip irrigation system can save water; because it wets only about 33 percent to 50 percent of the surface area. In addition, a drip system can apply fertilizer quickly, efficiently and uniformly thus, the trees, with the drip irrigation system, can produce up to 50% more compared to other irrigation systems, which is considered very efficient and effective.

A Case Study
Goshta District – Nangarhar Province
In Goshta district of Nangarhar, we have two lemon orchards of the same variety, same size (10 Jeribs) and same age (planted in autumn 2018). One of these orchards was equipped with drip irrigation system from the beginning, and the other one was irrigated by flood method. This summer (2020), the orchard with drip irrigation produced 350Kg while the other orchard produced 56Kg lemon fruit.
It was the first production of these trees. In the upcoming years, we will be able to observe the difference more clearly.
This drip irrigation system also has fertigation system, which can deliver nutrients (fertilizers) along the water from the head unit of the system to the trees roots zone. As the trees receive water and nutrients based on need uniformly thus, the trees health and growth status is very good as compared to the orchard irrigated with flood irrigation system.
I. View of MAIL staff who evaluated the project: “The project is very well implemented and such projects have great impact on the livelihood of people, where people can grow licit crops and generate incomes from their barren lands, so it is suggested to MAIL and donors to support ANHDO in conducting such projects in bigger scale,” in the future, commented the team.
II. Growers view: “We were wasting a lot of water while irrigating our orchards with flood irrigation, but now, with a press of a button, we can irrigate the whole orchard in few hours. This system is very effective, efficient and impressive. Also, with flood irrigation, it was taking 2-3 days to irrigate 10 Jeribs of orchard, we had to control the weeds, we had to apply fertilizer manually to each tree, but now, irrigation, weed control and fertilizer application is a matter of few hours. On the other hand, the trees are vigorous as compared to the trees managed under flood irrigation,” said the growers.
The choice of irrigation technology and scheduling method depends on economic considerations as well as the location, situation and preferences of each grower. Goshta and some other districts of Nangarhar are suitable to fruit growing with drip irrigation system. Drip irrigation system not only causes higher yield, but also saves the water from wasting as with limited water, we can bring barren land under cultivation.

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