Typha Project is located in Hadejia Valley Irrigation District in northern Nigeria, specifically in Jigawa State, about 150 km east of Kano City.
Lying in open Sudan Savannah this valley enjoys vast fertile arable land.
Its population remains mostly rural and still depends on agriculture, livestock and fishing for a living.
Invasive typha threat
What is Typha?
It is a genus about 30 species of aquatic or semi-aquatic plants in the family Typhaceae, commonly known as cattail. They are distributed in a variety of wetland habitats worldwide.
A serious threat in wetland ecosystems
These plants contribute to environmental benefits such as providing nesting habitat and food for birds and fish, and preventing erosion from pond banks.
However their dense canopy and rhizome spreading often exclude other plants in wetland ecosystems. This fact turns typha weed not only into an environmental issue, but also into an economic, health and welfare threat.
A priority for the Federal Government
In Hadejia Valley Irrigation Scheme, this threat has become a priority for the Federal Government. This weed has invaded water infrastructure and agricultural lands, with serious consequences on economic activities, health and welfare of local communities. This aquatic weed reduces productivity in rice lands (Sabo et al, 2016; Salako et al. 2016), blocks water canals thus impeding water flows, and hinders boating and fishing activities (Abubakar et al. 2012, Chiwaula et al, 2009). Obstruction of canals and water infrastructure has also resulted in an increased risk of flood (Ahmed et al, 2017; Goes, 2002). Invasive Typha also decreases diversity and promotes persistence of waterborne diseases such as malaria, which is first cause of death in Nigeria (Salako et al, 2016).
Reducing productivity in rice lands
Obstructing water infrastructure increasing flood risk
Hindering boating and fishing activities
Promoting persistence of waterborne diseases
Typha Project origin and significance
Typha Project is born as an action research component of TRIMING (Transforming Irrigation Management in Nigeria), funded by the World Bank, 2017-2020.
Two novel technologies are being developed to convert typha threat into economic opportunities for the people in the area. These are pointing to the most serious poverty issues in this particular context:
Transferring these novel technologies will be of considerable value to help diversify the economy and create significant welfare improvements for the Nigerian people.
As typha is a threat beyond northern Nigeria, lessons learned in this project could be applied in other similar contexts.