Impact of Small-Scale Irrigation Schemes on Smallholders Household Income and Food Security in Ethiopia: Review

Abdulsemed Abanega Abdurahman


In Ethiopia, agriculture remains among the most important economic sectors and has been traditionally dominated for centuries by small-scale farmers. Its performance has long been adversely affected by shortage of rain and water to sustain their lives on famine relief support. From the total production of Ethiopia’s, about 97% food crops are produced by rain-fed agriculture, whereas only 3% is from irrigated agriculture. On the other hand, Ethiopia has abundant water resources, but not yet fully benefited from technologies of water management and irrigation. The aim of this paper is to identify the impact of small-scale irrigation on household income and food security reviewing different literature. Different studies indicated that access to irrigation water can enable farmers to adopt new technologies and intensify cultivation, leading to increased productivity, production, and greater returns from farming. Access to irrigation enables farmer to grow crops more than once a year increasing production, income and improve their food security status. This review concludes small-scale irrigation is one of the possible solutions to increase smallholder household income and food needs in the country. But there are different challenges hindering the irrigation development by smallholder households like lack of market at the time of harvest, distance from water sources, knowledge on the efficient use of irrigation, and linkage between micro finance institutions and smallholder horticultural crop producers are some constraints. These constraints have to be solved to increase participation of stallholder household in irrigation technology to improve their living standards through this sector.

Keywords: Agriculture, Ethiopia, Small scale irrigation, Water resource

DOI: 10.7176/JBAH/11-1-05

Publication date: January 31st 2021

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

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