Review on Impact of Small Scale Irrigations in Household Food Security in Ethiopia

Desta Dawit, Almaz Balta


Agriculture is the leading sector of Ethiopian economy as well the overall economic growth of the country largely depends on the agricultural sector. However, Ethiopian agriculture remains characterized by small-scale subsistence production systems where crop and livestock yields are very low. In Ethiopia, an estimated 3 million of the country’s people is food insecure and malnourished. Therefore, there is a call for different interventions, irrigation being one of the options, which could help in adapting strategies to cope up with the challenging drought. The country's irrigation potential is estimated at 3.7 million hectare, of which only about recent estimates indicate that the total irrigated area under small-scale irrigation reached to 853,000 ha during the last implementation period of PASDEP(Plan for Accelerated and Sustained Development to End Poverty) – 2009/10. The aim of this paper is to identify the impact of small-scale irrigation on household food security based on review of different literature. Different studies revealed that access to reliable irrigation water can enable farmers to adopt new technologies and intensify cultivation, leading to increased productivity, overall higher production, and greater returns from farming. Access to irrigation enabled the farm households to grow crops more than once a year; to insure increased and stable production, income and consumption and improve their food security status. The review concludes that small-scale irrigation is one of the viable solutions to secure household food needs in the country. However, simply providing irrigation infrastructure to farm households is not a guarantee that rural poverty and food insecurity are being reduced. In addition to that, an enabling socio-economic environment (like access to roads, markets, credit, training and information about innovations) must be provided to the poor farmers to actually make them engage in small scale irrigation farming and ensure to reduce deep rooted food insecurity and poverty.

Keywords: Intensify cultivation, Increase productivity, Small scale irrigation, Food security.

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ISSN (Paper)2222-1700 ISSN (Online)2222-2855

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