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A critical review of small scale irrigation in ethiopia: prospects and challenges

Author: 
Biruk Sisay Desulie and Birhane Anagaw Abebe
Subject Area: 
Social Sciences and Humanities
Abstract: 

Rural farmers in Ethiopia have been practicing traditional irrigation since ancient time. But, it is only in the 1970s that small scale irrigation got recognition by the then government. Nonetheless, currently, investment in small scale irrigation has been identified as a key poverty reduction strategy. To this end, it may be important to review the existing irrigation schemes and the major challenges associated with them, among others. This paper critically reviewed 12 relevant recent literatures on the sub-sector and presented discussions thereof. It is exhibited that farmers practiced various types/techniques of small scale irrigations such as river and stream diversions, rainwater harvesting, groundwater and hand-dug wells, motor pump schemes and so forth. However, small scale irrigation is by far underdeveloped which has limited its contribution to the agricultural production and food security in the country. Various reasons and constraints are indicated for its underdevelopment across documents. The major constraints include institutional, technical, financial, socio-economic and marketing related aspects. Examining these constraints and planning to tackle accordingly is one of the ways that the government and its partners could address to develop the small scale irrigation. As such, it is important to duly consider those aspects in future policy issues and agricultural interventions. More specifically, it is suggested to duly work on improving the technical know-how of farmer on irrigation technologies, extending credit facilities, expanding markets and road infrastructures and setting clear organizational structures for irrigation departments at various levels.

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