Challenges and Opportunities of Small-Scale Irrigation Utilization in Rift Valley Basin, Humbo Woreda, Ethiopia

Abebaw Abiyu Mesfin Tebeje


Ethiopia has abundant water resources, but its agricultural system does not yet fully benefit from the technologies of water management and irrigation. This study was conducted with the aim of assessing opportunities and constraints towards utilization of small-scale irrigation by smallholder farmers’ and to assess the organizational set-up of water users association in the study area. In this study multi-stage sampling techniques were used to select 150 target respondents in which 90 irrigation users and 60 non-irrigation users. To collect the required data several methods like interview schedule, focus group discussions and key informant interviews were used. From focus group discussions and key informant interviews, different challenges and opportunities were forwarded and underlined by the participants regarding with household’s participation decision on small-scale irrigation. The overall opportunities for the development and management of irrigation water are the availability of high surface water potential, good motivation and willingness of irrigation users to attend scientific trainings and high commitment of the Ethiopia government, donors and NGOs to support irrigation management and development activity. While different constraints were also forwarded related with poor technology choice, too small landholdings, conflicts in water use and use rights, lack of market information and access, lack of training on irrigation technologies, lack of irrigation structure maintenance, poor linkage between research and extension services, poor infrastructures such as roads, lack of adequate credit service and extension packages. Regarding to the organizational set-up of water users association, the general assembly is the highest body in water users’ association committee which makes the final decisions based on the bylaws. The composition of the general assembly from all irrigation schemes has chairman, secretary, auditors, operation and maintenance committees. An Executive Committee consists of seven members for overall operation and maintenance of irrigation systems. The executive committees were further decentralized in to three branches. These sub-executive committees comprising two members in each were in charge of control water distribution and coordination of maintenance activities and conflict resolutions. Therefore, to alleviate these constraints and utilize the opportunities towards small-scale irrigation, the concerned bodies should attempt to minimize those factors that hinder productivity of irrigation water in the study area.

Keywords: Challenges, Opportunities, Rift Valley Basin, Water users association.

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