The study examined the impact of privatization on efficiency of water use in selected irrigation schemes under the Lower Niger River Basin Development Authority of Nigeria. Government policy is aimed at achieving food self-sufficiency through the proposed privatization of these schemes hence making water an economic good whose use will thus be levied more rationally. Data was drawn on 414 small-scale irrigation farms under the two existing tenure Systems in 7 irrigation schemes in the basin. The DEA results showed that on the average, substantial overall inefficiencies characterized the farms in both the User Allocation and Farmer Occupier tenure systems. Unlike the situation in the rice farms, vegetable and maize farmers under the Farmer Occupier System demonstrated considerably higher levels of efficiency than those in the other system. For the vegetable farmers, it was a switch of value dominance between the CRSTE and the VRSTE. The result of the price simulation showed an irregular pattern of marginal efficiency change in all the DMUs of both systems. This result frowns at the proposed privatization, should the new investor transact resources in a way that is not at par with the prevailing open market condition thereby overshooting the margins of farm-level efficiency.
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