Clay Pot Pitcher Irrigation: A Sustainable and Socially Inclusive Option for Homestead Fruit Production under Dryland Environments in Ethiopia (A Partial Review)

Zenebe Woldu


This paper aims to highlight the significance, in terms of household food and nutrition security, of such longstanding but yet neglected traditional method of irrigation system, more particularly for socially inclusive homestead-level fruit production across the dryland parts of Ethiopia. In so doing, attempts were made to review relevant findings and experiences elsewhere in world and recount their implications with achievements of the local interventions carried out in some dryland localities of Ethiopia. While similar attempts have been carried out by other institutions as well, the paper focuses on the interventions and accomplishments of the UN initiated Millennium Village Project (MVP), put into operation in Hawzen district, Tigray Regional State, Ethiopia. The findings of both the review work and practical appliances through the project correspondingly indicate that the system can help promote and integrate fruit production successfully into the existing cereal dominated dryland cropping systems in Ethiopia so as to bring about ecological, aesthetical, economical and nutrition improvements invariably for the rural communities located across all landscapes, climatic conditions and topographic regimes. The system can be made more useful when combined with small-scale water harvesting technologies (e.g. seasonal run-off collection ponds, roof-water reservoirs and use of treadle pumps attached to hosepipes) located close to household backyards. As a future line of investigation, the findings also emphasized the need for further research to improve the design, durability and overall efficiency of the existing clay pot pitchers.

Keywords: Pitcher irrigation, dryland, homestead fruit production, sustainability, social inclusiveness

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3208 ISSN (Online)2225-093X

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