Governance of large-scale irrigation system in the Tana area, Northern Ethiopia

Researcher: Atakilte Beyene
Project initiated in 2013

Agriculture is known to be central to Ethiopia’s economy. And yet, the sector has performed poorly for many decades. However, the government has scaled-up its efforts since the mid-2000s in order to reverse the negative trend in agricultural growth. One of these efforts is the marked expansion of irrigation systems which constitute different scales. Large-scale dam and irrigation systems are perhaps the ones that have come as dramatic interventions.

This project focusses on a particular from of such systems; namely, the management of large-scale irrigation by smallholder farmers. Unlike the conventional large-scale irrigation systems, the management of large-scale irrigation schemes by smallholder farmers is a new undertaking in Ethiopia. This requires innovation and learning in institutional and organizational aspects of the management of the schemes across the different stakeholders. As the irrigation systems focus on improving food security of the smallholder farmers through improving their access to water, the performance and outcome of such initiative is, therefore, significant not only to those under operation, but also to other planned projects as well. Three case studies, Koga, Rib and Megech, all located in the Tana area, are being studied in this project.

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