Irrigation and Rural Welfare: Implications of Schistosomiasis among Farmers in Kazaure LGA, Jigawa State, Nigeria
This paper examines the effects of the prevalence of urinary schistosomiasis infection on the socio-economic health of irrigation farmers in the rural districts of Kazaure Area, Northern Nigeria. It first reviews some general consideration of irrigation environment and schistosomiasis, its major associated health problem. Using an interview schedule, the study then analyses the geographical spread of infection with the disease among irrigation farmers and further correlates its effects with their incomes, productivity, and standard of living. The study revealed that the distribution of infected farmers decreased with distance from the epicenter of schistosome infection. All the farmers in the survey also reported diminishing crop sales resulting in low standard of living. Furthermore, a correlation of irrigation farmers' labour days lost due to infection and treatment of schistosomiasis with their net farm income yielded a high negative value (rs = -0.7). The paper concludes with policy recommendations on the need for disease control and environmental management strategies to reduce the undesirable impact of irrigation and other water development projects.
JARD Vol. 2 2003: pp. 52-59