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Small-scale irrigation and its effect on food security of rural households in North-West Ethiopia: A comparative analysis

Beneberu Assefa Wondimagegnhu
Biazin Alemu Bogale


Agriculture is a limiting factor for food security in Ethiopia as more than 80% of the population depends on it for livelihoods. In many parts of the country, the frequency and distribution of rainfall and the principal source of water for crop production are getting more unreliable and inadequate and frequent droughts, make irrigation farming indispensable. Despite the high potential for irrigation, the study area remained to be one of the food insecure districts in the region and currently it is supported by the productive safety net program. Information is also missing on the extent to which households who have access to irrigation produce more than those who depend on rainfed agriculture. The study contributes to a comparative analysis of the effect of small scale irrigation. The aim of the study was to analyze the effect of small scale irrigation on the food security of rural households. Data were collected from 185 randomly selected rural households in the Goncha-SisoEnesie district of northwest Ethiopia. Descriptive analysis, household food balance model and binary logit regression were employed as tools of data analysis. The result revealed that out of all sampled households, 74% were food secured and 26% were not. The gap in food calorie availability was high ranging from 753-6659 kcal/adult equivalent/day in the study area. Out of 84 irrigation users, 84.5% of them were food secured; whereas only 65.3% of the total 101 non-irrigation users were food secured. In this study, household size, farmland size, access to irrigation, access to credit services, and income from rainfed crop production were the determinant factors of household food security. Small scale irrigation had a direct and indirect positive effect on enhancing household food security status. Thus, the concerned development partners and policymakers should consider the promotion and expansion of irrigated farming in the area.

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eISSN: 2312-6019
print ISSN: 1816-3378