Small-scale Irrigation in the Ethiopian Highlands: What potential for poverty reduction and climate adaptation

Briefing papers
August 2010
Josephine Tucker, Leulseged Yirgu

Small-scale irrigation is a policy priority in Ethiopia for rural poverty alleviation and growth (MOFED, 2006), as well as climate adaptation (GoE, 2007). Only around 5% of Ethiopia’s irrigable land is irrigated (World Bank, 2006), and less than 5% of total renewable water resources are withdrawn annually (FAO, 2005), so there is considerable scope for expansion. The following discussion draws on evidence from a micro-level study by RiPPLE to assess the contribution of small-scale irrigation to income diversification and livelihood resilience in three highland communities in East Hararge, Oromia region (Eshetu et al, 2010). Household interviews and focus group discussions (for different wealth groups and female-headed households) were conducted in three sites with spring-based community managed irrigation schemes.

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