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    • Abstract: ADDIS ABABA UNIVERSITYSCHOOL OF GRADUATE STUDIESSmall Scale Irrigation Users Peasant Horticulture in DugdaBora And Adami Tulu Jido Kombolcha Woredas East ShewaZone: Challenges and OpportunitiesA Thesis Submitted to the School of Graduate Studies Addis Ababa

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Small Scale Irrigation Users Peasant Horticulture in Dugda
Bora And Adami Tulu Jido Kombolcha Woredas East Shewa
Zone: Challenges and Opportunities
A Thesis Submitted to the School of Graduate Studies Addis Ababa
University in Partial Fulfillment of Requirements for the Degree of Master of
Arts in Regional and Local Development Studies (RLDS).
Advisor: Bekure Woldesamait(PhD)
July 2004
Small Scale Irrigation Users Peasant Horticulture in Dugda Bora And
Adami Tulu Jido Kombolcha Woredas East Shewa Zone: Challenges and
Department of Local and Regional Development Studies
Approved by Board of Examiners Signature
(Chairman, Graduate Committee)
Bekure Woldesamait(PhD)
Woldeab Teshome(PhD)
Professor K.N.Singh
I would like to thank Bekure Wolesemiat (PhD) my thesis advisor for his valuable comments
and suggestions. I am very grateful to his scholarly and friendly approaches in helping me.
I am highly indebted to my wife Hayat Ahmed for her support and assistance during my studies
and this paper work. I am thankful to my colleagues Abraham Getachew, Darout Gum’a, Maru
Shete, and Tilaye Teklewold, for their reading part or the whole of this document and
constructive comments and suggestions they forwarded. My thanks go to Yakob Ahmed for his
moral supports, too.
I am also highly grateful to Addis Ababa University and Department staff of Regional and
Local Development Studies (RLDS) for their unreserved services. My special appreciation goes
to the RLDS Department for its provision computers and printing services including non
working days.
I am thankful to Melkassa Research Center, the farmers, Dugada Bora and Adami Tulu Jido
Kombocha Woredas Agricultural Development Offices, Cooperative Promotion offices,
Irrigation Development Desks and Meki Batu Horticultural Growers Cooperative Union and
Planning and Economic Development Bureau of Oromia.
Above All Glory Is To The Almighty, Allah.
Bedru Beshir
June 2004
Addis Ababa
Acknowledgment I
Table of content II
List of tables VI
List of figures VII
List of Annexes VIII
Abstract X
1. Introduction and Background 1
1.1 Conceptual Framework 6
1.2 Statement of the Problem 7
1.3 Objective of the Study 8
1.4 Research Questions 8
2. Literature Review 9
2.1 Irrigation: Role in Agriculture Development 9
2.2 Irrigation Developments and Its Classification 11
2.3 Small Vs Large Scale Irrigation 13
2.4 The Ethiopian Irrigation Strategy 14
2.5 Horticulture Concepts and Importance 15
2.6 Horticulture in Ethiopia: Production and Economic Importance from
Smallholder Point of View 17
3.1 Methodology 22
3.1.1 Sampling Procedure 22
3.1.2 Data Collection 23
3.1.3 Data Analysis 23
3.1.4 Significances and Limitation of the Study 24
3.2 Description of the Study Area 25
3.2.1 Physical and Socio Economic Characteristics of the Study
Woredas 26
3.2.2 Socio Economic Characteristics of Dugda Bora and ATJK 28
3.2.3 Agriculture practices 29
3.2.4 Farmers’ Organization and Cooperatives 29
3.2.5 Land Use and Land Cover of Dugda Bora and
Adami Tulu Jido Kombolcha Woredas 30
3.2.6 Organization the Paper 31
4.1 4.1 Demographic and Socio- Economic Characteristics of SSI Users 32
4.1.1 Household Sex, Age and Age Compositions 32
4.1.2 Formal Schooling of the Household Heads 33
4.1.3 Experiences in Farming 34
4.1.4 Land Size of the Households 35
4.1.5 Livestock Holding 37
5.1 Farming Practices and Horticultural Production 39
5.1.1 Crop Production, cropping pattern Livestock Farming 41
5.1.2 Livestock Farming 44
5.1.3 Means of production: Horticulture 45 Labor 45 Farm power 47 Farm implements 48 Input Utilization 49
iii Sources of Seed, Fertilizer and Agrochemicals 50 Seed Sources 50 Sources of fertilizers and agrochemicals 52 Input Application Rates 53 Rates 53 Fertilizer Application Rates 54 Diseases and Insect Pest Control 55 Safety Equipment Use 57
5.1.4 Credit Service 58
5.1.5 Agricultural Extension Service 60 Extension visits 60 Participation in horticultural crop production
demonstration 62
5.1.6 Some Constraints in SSI 62 Constraints related to irrigation water sources 62 Maintenance and depreciation fund 65
6.1 Horticultural marketing, income sources, food security issues
and opportunities 67
6.1.1. Horticultural Crop Marketing 67 Transportation and handling 68 Marketing Seasons 69 Market information 70 Seasonal Price of some Horticultural Produce 70
6.1.2 Personal Monetary Income sources 72
6.1.3 Food Security Issue and SSI users 73
6.1.4 Opportunities 74
7.1 Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations 78
7.1.1 Summary 78
7.1.2 Conclusions 78
7.1.3 Recommendations 82
Table 1: Description of Physical Settings of Dugda Bora and ATJK 27
Table 2: Land Use and Land Cover of Dugda Bora and ATJK
Woredas in 2002 and 2003 30
Table 3: Land Holding Size of SSI Users by Use Categories 36
Table 4: Land holding of small-scale irrigation farmers by size categories 37
Table 5: Oxen ownership of small-scale irrigation users 38
Table 6: Horticultural crop production in Dugda Bora Woreda 41
Table 7: Area (ha) of irrigated and rain fed crop production in 2001 to 2003 42
Table 8: Table 8: Productivity Of Some Vegetables and Fruit Crop Of SSI User Farmers 43
Table 9: Labor sources for horticultural production Activities 45
Table 10: Ownership of farm implement 48
Table 11: Seed sources for small scale irrigated horticultural crop production. 51
Table 12: Mean seed rate of some vegetable crops for small-scale irrigation users
Farmers 53
Table 13: Fertilizer application rates by small-scale irrigation users 54
Table 14: Major Vegetable Disease and Insect Pests in Dugda Bora and ATJK woredas 55
Table 15: Pesticides and Insecticides Used By Farmers 55
Table 16: Safety wears owned 57
Table 17: Cross Tabulation Between Membership of Union and Credit Source 58
Table 18: Cross tabulation between memberships of cooperative union
and money advance payments 59
Table 19: Frequency of Development Agents’ Contact With Small-Scale Farmers-61
Table 20: Cross Tabulation of Sources of Irrigation Water and number of farmers with
Constraints 64
Table 21: Reasons of Conflicts on water use 65
Table 22: Vegetable market areas for SSI users farmers 69
Table 23: Vegetable markets for small-scale users 70
Table 24: Monetary Income of Small Scale Irrigated Horticulture Producers 72
Figure 1: Dugda Bora And Adami Tulu Jido Kombolcha Woredas By Sex And
Residential Area In 2003 23
Figure 2:Years Of Formal Schooling Of Small Scale Household Heads 33
Figure 3: Average Landholding Size By Use 36
Figure 4:Yield And Area Share Of Field And Horticultural Crop In Dugda Bora Woreda 40
Figure5: Average Prices of Some Vegetable Crops In Meki Zway Area 71
Figure 6: Major Sources Of Monetary Income For SSI Users 72
Figure 7: Distance of SSI users Farms From the Main High Way (Km) 75
Annex 1: Adami Tulu and Dugda Bora Woredas Small scale irrigation Water Users
Annex 2: Questionnaire and Guidelines
Annex 3: Map of Oromiya Zone with the study area
Annex 4: Field Crop production and productivity in Dugda Bora and ATJK Woredas over 2001 to 2003
Annex 5: Average nutritive value of vegetable per 100gm edible portion
Annex 6: Recommenced crops and vegetables varieties in different area of Ethiopia, 1983 to 2002
Annex 7: Rough Sketch of the Sample irrigation Schemes
ADLI: Agricultural Development Led Industrialization
ATJK: Adami Tulu Jido Kombolcha
AVRDC: Asian Vegetable Research Development Center
Br: Birr
CSA: Central Statistics Authority
CV: Coefficient of Variation
DA: Development Agent
DAP: Diammonium Phosphate
EARO: Ethiopian Agricultural Research Organization
OPDEDEZ: Office of Planning and Economic Development of East Shewa Zone
FAO: Food and Agricultural Organization
FDRE: Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Ha: Hectare
IFAD: International Fund for Agricultural Development
JICA: Japan International Cooperation Agency
Kg: Kilogram
Km: Kilo meter
MARC: Melkassa Agricultural Research Center
Masl: Meter above sea level
MoA: Ministry of Agriculture
MoWR: Ministry of Water Resource
NGO: Non-Government Organization
PADEPTS: Participatory Demonstration and Training Extension System
Qt: Quintal (100kg)
SD: Standard Deviation
SHDI: Self Help Development International
SPSS: Statistical Package for Social Science
SSI: Small-scale irrigation
TLU: Tropical Livestock Unit
USD: United States Dollar
WARDA: Water Resources Development Authority
The economy of Ethiopia depends heavily on rain fed agriculture. The sector is anticipated to
hold up the whole economy and change it structure. However, the country is highly affected by
drought and millions of people left without sustenance every year. As an option small-scale
irrigation schemes come in to view. Such irrigations were developed to increase productivity. In
this aspect horticultural crop farming has got importance and practiced under irrigation system.
Dugda Bora and Adami Tulu Jido kombolcha of East Shewa Zone are important woredas in this
aspect. The woredas are accessible to the central market, endowed with rich physical land
resources and climatic conditions. There are several small irritation development sunder which
horticultural production is practiced in the woreda. However, small-scale irrigation peasant
horticulture development is stagnant.
This paper attempts to analyze the under lying problems of horticultural producers and suggests
solutions. Thus to understand the SSI users horticultural production and marketing constraints
primary data were collected using survey, group discussions, observation and documents were
consulted for secondary data. The quantitative data collected were analyzed using descriptive
statistics. Accordingly, SSI user farmers have rich experience in crop production, high average
family size; high average land holding (3.2ha), few years of formal schooling (four). Family
labor is a principal labor force for production and (hired seasonal and permane) labor is also
common. In this aspect woman have a lot of activities in crop production and marketing.
Improved horticultural inputs are utilized by slightly than more two third of the farmers. The
application rate of fertilizer is a bit less than recommended rates while that of seed and
agrochemicals have tendency of higher rate. Agricultural Input supplies, extension and credit
services were found inadequate.
Frequent motor pump failures, siltations, shrinking up of Lake Zway, River Meki running out
of water more early than before found to be irrigation water constraints. The farmers marketing
capacity was limited by low production and productivity, advance payment, poor market
information system.
Horticultural production and marketing activities has demonstrated a tendency of changing the
subsistence farming in to commercial farming and created some job opportunity and form two
third of the average monetary income of the SSI user farmers.
There are some opportunities for the farmers to be mentioned. Most of the farms 56(62%) are
within 3km distance from a highway, the soil and suitable climatic conditions and rural
infrastructure (cooperative union) is available and the schemes are at the accessible distance to
several growing tows in the central Ethiopian.
Development actors in the area in general and in the small-scale irrigation development in
particular, better see for enhancing sustainability of irrigation development, ensuring input
availability, upgrading farmers’ technical and managerial skills. On the other hand,, rural
infrastructure development has to be considered. Such as credit and micro finance institution,
rural road, cooperative development and seeking for possibility of establishing simple
processing agro industries. As well, searching for mechanisms of diversification of horticultural
crop production in order to strengthen horticulture as local export economic base, a means of
hard currency earning and food security maintenance has to be considered.
Key words: Small-scale irrigation (SSI), horticulture, vegetable, fruit, production, marketing,
challenges, Opportunities, Adami Tulu Jido Kombolcha(ATJK), Dugda Bora woredas.
1. Introduction and Background
Ethiopia is an agrarian nation. It derives most of livelihood from this sector. The sector
supplies 51.8% of the Gross Domestic Product, 90% of export earnings (CSA, 1999).
Improvement in the agricultural sector can be equated with generation of higher income,
reduction in poverty and promotion of higher standards of nutrition and health of the people.
Increasing production of agricultural out put for consumption and as raw material for the
industries and export market is important to enable the sector plays a dynamic role in the
economic development.
However, the economy suffers from a heavy dependence on a single agricultural commodity,
coffee, with its decreasing price in the world market. The Ethiopian coffee exports value
decreased by 36% over years 1998/9 to 2001/2. While fruits and vegetables export value
increased by 62% during the same time. The boost in volume was 6% and 15% for coffee and
horticulture respectively (NBE, 2003). For those purposes diversification in export, nutrition,
income, and employment opportunities is of paramount importance. One of the available areas
of focus can be horticulture crop production and marketing. Rukuni (1997) indicated that Sub
Saharan Africa’s horticulture grew from USD636 million to more than USD15 billion over
1976 to 1989 and expected to be a major growth area in the future. In this aspect, Ethiopia with
its favorable climatic and edaphic conditions for the cultivation of fruits, vegetables, root and
tuber crops, which are all high potential crops, both in terms of production and value is
important (Semret, 1994). Moreover, its geographic position is a strategic for access to the
European and Middle East and North African Markets.
In Ethiopia again different locations have their own advantages in terms of access to
infrastructure, central market and natural resources (water, favorable climate and soil). East
Shewa zone of Oromia in this respect is an important from the viewpoint of local and central
markets. The Zone is endowed with several lakes and some rivers. That is why there are several
large-scale irrigated state farms and small-scale peasant irrigation located there. There is also
fluvisols of recent alluvial formation that suitable for farming in river plains of Awash, Meki and
lakeshores like Lake Zway in Dugda- Bora and Adami Tullu Woredas to produce agricultural
crops more importantly, horticulture using irrigation. There are several SSI schemes developed in
the East Shewa Zone especially in Adami Tutu Jido Kombolcha and Dugda Bora woredas. Which
is considered one step forward for the local economic development.
In developing countries small-scale farmers produce a great share of horticulture for local
consumption and export. Sixty per cent of the Kenyan horticultural export income from small-
scale farmers’ (ITC Executive Forum, 2003). In Ethiopia, large produces of horticultural out put
especially vegetables are produced by smallholder farmers (CSA, 2002). However, in developing
countries productivity of horticultural crop is low. Nevertheless, because of high market prices
income per unit area are usually higher. A study conducted in Indonesia indicated that compared
to rice net revenue per hectare from shallot was over five times as high and from pepper and
tomato three times as high (AVRDC, 1991). At MARC a net income of 11,000 to 14,000 Br/ha
was estimated from experimental plot yield (MARC, 2000). In addition to this, horticultural
production documented to create employment in marketing, processing and export. In those
aspects women do a very large amount of the job. Consequently, it offers not only opportunities
for greater income to small-scale farmers and low-income laborers but it is beneficial for
providing employment opportunities for women and the poor (AVRDC, 1991).
Horticultural produces have high elasticity of demand. That is its consumption increases with
rising income and urbanization. Per capita consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables increased
by 0.38 and 0.92% respectively over 1986 to 1995. World consumption of vegetables, for
example, rose by over 30% per annum in the 1970 to 1980. It was also projected to continue
growing aggressively through production and marketing. In turn, it improves nutrition, economic
and social well being of farmers (FAO 2003 and AVRDC 1991).
According to Clayton, 1985 horticulture production increases out put per unit area with help of
improved cultivation and use of improved technologies (irrigation water, inputs, and cultural
practices). Use of intensive labors can produce maximum yield and good roads enable its sale
at economic price. Horticulture is important for food its produce marketing, and processing
have significant contribution to income (Ethiopian average yearly export earning from
vegetables and fruits was $US4.8 million 1998 to 2002 (NBE, 2003). Whereas the neighboring
Kenya exported USD 226.6million valued horticulture output over the same period (ITC,
Executive, 2003). On the other hand, US exported USD 260 million worth of the horticultural
produce to the Middle East and North African countries in year 2001 only
www.fas.usda.gov/htp/circular/2002/20-07stats/circular Population growth and urbanization
are creating demand for food, and concerns are rising about malnutrition in pre-urban and rural
areas. In this aspect the sector can provide an employment, feed, and food demands for a
locality such as under study.
While the above descriptions do highlight some features of the benefits and opportunities of
horticultural production there are constraints in the sector. (AVRDC, 1991) identified the
production constraints of vegetable as poor management practices, technical and institutional
problems such as seed technology, produce marketing, processing and storage. Perishability of
the most horticultural crops introduces special marketing difficulties. Whereas tradition, lack of
education and poorly developed infrastructures often discourage vegetable production and
marketing. As well, government policies may create economic disincentives to increase
horticultural production.
The government of Ethiopia paid more of its emphasis on food crop production packages in its
five-year development program. For instance, the agricultural Extension service support over
1997/8 to 2001/2 was 71 to 79% for cereals, 3 to 10% for cash crop (including horticulture), 2
to 3% for livestock, Natural resource 9 to17% and 0.02 to 0.03% for post harvest technologies
(Dagnew et al. 2001). The program was successful in potential areas with better soil fertility
and rainwater availability. Such a history of success is limited in semi-arid areas of the country
(Fuad, 2001). The present shift in strategy from food self sufficiency to food security is far
reaching. In addition, the present attention to specialization and diversification of crop
production in the rural development strategy of recent program would have a positive impact in
agricultural development (FDRE, 2001).
In those aspects horticultural production and marketing can serve as an option in the
agricultural development strategy, by way of diversifying income of farmers, by fetching
foreign currency and by supporting establishment of agro industry in the country, which is the
objective of ADLI – Agriculture Development Led Industrialization. Horticultural production
supposed very helpful in terms of employment generation, and household food security
maintenance in semi arid drought prone areas of the country such as under study. In Ethiopia
some studies show that growing some horticultural crops (onion and tomato) by use of SSI
enabled farmers double their income as compared to non-irrigation users and non cash crop
producing counter parts (Fuad, 2001). Hence, small scale irrigated peasant horticulture can
serve as strategic point to alleviate poverty. This may be implemented via creation of
employment opportunities, better income generation, and infrastructure development, increase
productivity of labor and creation of better linkage (backward and forward i.e. between town
and rural) as it has been seen in successful countries in the sector (FAO, 2000). In this aspect
horticulture with its high value, land and labor intensity and efficiency is supposed to be more
appropriate to dry season production, more importantly under irrigation system. FAO (2000)
documented that successful SSI users increased productivity, improved income and nutrition,
created employment opportunities, improved food security and saved drought relief for
1.1 Conceptual Framework
Ethiopia depends heavily on agriculture both for food and foreign income earning. The main
mode of crop production is rain fed agriculture. But this mode fell to produce sufficient food for
ever-increasing population. This is especially true, in arid and semi arid areas where some four
million and more people are waiting for food aid each year (FDRE, 2001). To tackle this
problem, irrigation has been taken as an option in the country’s economic development
strategy-ADLI. In this aspect, SSI has got greater attention to bring food security of the peasant
farmers from the mid 1980s. Ethiopia has placed SSI development at this position on the
ground of its benefits of over all improved crop production by household level, improved
household income from field and cash crop production and increased number of average meals
of a household are anticipated. Irrigated horticulture considered to be paying to labor, land and
water than cereal crops (FAO, 2000 and AVRDC, 1991).
Horticultural production and marketing can promote development of a locality because the
produce mostly sold out side of the area thus increases competitiveness in the local economy.
Helmsing, 2001 states that as a local economy develops certain export base, this gets reflected
in the building up of infrastructures geared to serve it. When an area specializes in a particular
agricultural production, marketing and manufacturing, thus, industry specific physical and socio
economic infrastructure and overhead capital will be built in its service. From this viewpoint
irrigated horticulture is important to serve as an export base of the area and thereby stimulate
the economy. Besides the availability of horticultural produces increase access to food.
While those the aforementioned are some importance of the horticulture in general there are
constraints with SSI users horticultural production under which its bulk produced. The
problems supposed are of wide range technical (agronomic), biological, market, and
institutional and socio economic aspects. Hence, see paper tries to explore/identify and describe
challenges and opportunities of small- scale irrigation users horticultural production and
marketing activities.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
As sited in earlier sections Ethiopia is an agrarian nation. The sector is facing challenges in
supporting the whole economy. From the very basic issue it is unable to maintain food security
of the population although huge number (estimated at 85%)of labor force engaged in the sector.
The problem of the sector usually attributed to erratic and/ or insufficient rainfall. This issue is
more serious in arid and semi arid parts of the nation. In order to tackle this problem irrigations
have been developed in different parts of the country to intensify agricultural production. The
irrigation schemes are of large-scale (commercial level wide area coverage) to small-scale
family managed ones. The concern of this paper is SSI users horticultural production and
marketing issues.
SSI have been under development from the mid of 1980s for food security purposes. Among
food insecure areas in the nation Dugda Bora and ATJK woredas of East Shewa zone are
important. The area is endowed with lake and river water recourses. On the rivers and lakes,
Government, NGOs and farmers established small-scale motorized irrigation systems. Under
those systems farmers grow field and horticultural crops. Field crops are dominantly rain fed
and occasionally irrigated to supplement rain in cases of insufficiency or complete failures of
rain. Small-scale irrigations largely assigned to horticultural crop production. Though such
irrigation schemes were there under horticultural crop production in the Central Rift valley
(Including Dugda Bora and ATJK Woredas) the production of horticulture is low in terms of
quantity and quality for market Aleligne et al. (1994). The productivity gap is still large
between research site and farmers’ field and farmers’ field and demonstration site (EARO,
2000). Thus, there are some questions to be answered in order to improve SSI users
horticultural production and marketing to improve their income and access to food thereby
contribute to poverty reduction.
1.3 Objective of the Study
To explore the process of production and marketing of small scale irrigated peasant horticulture
farming as well as the opportunities available to them and the constraints faced by them.
The Specific Objectives are:
1. To identify and describe the process of production and marketing systems of
horticultural products in Dugda Bora and ATJK Woredas
2. To identify the problems of small scale irrigation users horticulture
production and marketing in the woredas
3. To investigate the opportunities available for small scale horticultural
producers of the woredas
4. To suggest possible intervention areas in order to bring better socio
economic benefits to the small scale irrigation user horticulture farmers
1.4 Research Questions
What are the production resources of SSI horticulture producers in Dugda Bora
and ATJK Woreds?
What are the productions and marketing systems of SSI users horticultural
What constraints face SSI users horticultural produces?
What are the opportunities for small scale irrigated horticultural produces?
Do SSI horticulture producers have access to extension service?
Are SSI horticulture producers organized to effectively bargain at the market?
Are SSI user horticultural producers able to diversify their income?
Have all SSI horticulture producers achieved food security?
Irrigation has played a significant role in agricultural development. Presently, a considerable
amount of food and industrial crops are produced by using irrigation water and believed to
continue in a more intensively to support increasing population. Hence this section tries to
review the importance of irrigation to agriculture and classification of irrigation schemes in
relation to farmers’ horticultural production. More importantly the section presents the concept,
importance, production and marketing situation of horticultural crops, which are supposed to be
the most suited to irrigation and the focal area of this paper.
2.1 Irrigation: Role in Agriculture Development
Irrigation is a supply of water to agricultural crops by artificial means, designed to permit
farming in arid regions and to offset drought in semi arid regions (FAO, 1995).
According to Clyton (1985) irrigation is the application of water to soil to provide an adequate
supply of water for crop needs to increase the crop yields or aid their establishments.
Irrigation has long played a key role in feeding the expanding population. It is destined to play
still greater role in the future. Irrigation raises the yields of specific crops and prolongs effective
crops growing period in areas with dry season, thus permits multiple cropping. With security
provided by irrigation, additional inputs needed to intensify production further such as pest
control, fertilizer, improved varieties and better tillage practices become economically feasible
(FAO, 1995).
Irrigation has helped to increase agricultural production in the last 30 to 40 years in
developing countries and has evoked greater expectations. Irrigation development,
particularly small scale, will be an important component of diversification and expansion
strategy to strengthen food security in the future through production of food crops and
horticultural crops. Horticultural crop production in the world particularly in the more arid
regions would be impossible without some form of irrigation (Mathew et al.; 1990 and
Palanisami 1997).
Irrigation development has enabled the production of high value crops (horticulture, cotton and
tobacco) for the domestic and export depending on the comparative advantage. Irrigation
facilitates the provision of alternative cropping pattern decision-making between cash and food
crop items. It helps to diversify product types and increase food variety and availability (FAO,
2000 and FAO, 1997).
2.2 Irrigation Development and Its Classification
The classification of irrigation developments depend on their role, organization and the area
developed and the system used. It can be categorized as small, medium and large scales.
Sometimes irrigation schemes are classified in to traditional and modern. Such large and small
irrigation varies from country to country. For instance, in India an irrigation development of
10,000 hectares is small while in Ghana the large irrigation scheme is 3,000ha (Smith, 1988).
According to FAO (1986) large-scale irrigation is an irrigation area of at least 500ha and some
times 10,000ha or more. Medium scheme roughly in the range of 50 to 500 ha and small scale
development, comprising usually of 10 to 50 ha although sometimes a little larger. These are
village level schemes usually of 10 to 50 ha and individual or family operated development of
less than 10 hectares.
De Lange et al. (1997) defines SSI are the development of traditional irrigation systems, which
are used as complement to rain-fed crop production involving predominantly horticultural
crops. One important distinction of small scale is the level of risk with which the farmer prefers
to operate. Intensive, highly commercial farming is high risk. In contrast small-scale farmers
often seek to reduce risk. Consequently, optimal production is often at lower input and yield
levels than those recommended for high-risk farming.
In Ethiopia the classification of irrigation scheme goes as follow (Desselegn, 1999 and
FAO, 1995):
Small scale: Small holder project for a single peasant association and up to 200 ha in size.
Medium scale: Extending between 200 to 3000 ha extending beyond peasant association,
and requiring greater degree of government assistance in development provided through
the Water Resources Development Authority (WRDA).
Large scale: Centrally managed state farms for commercial production, and covering
3000 ha or more to be planned and designed by WRDA and constructed under its
The traditional SSI is simple water diversions it is very old in Ethiopia and has been practiced
for decades in the highlands were small farmers could divert river, spring water seasonally for a
limited dry season cropping (FAO, 1994). However, irrigation development in the modern
sense has recently been introduced comparatively to the traditional in the country. It was
during the time of Hailesillase in the 1950s and 1960s that modern commercial large-scale
irrigation development was introduced to Ethiopia mainly in the Awash Valley (IFAD, 1985).
With 1975 rural land proclamations those large-scale irrigated farms were placed under the
responsibility of the ministry of state farms. Small-scale landlord holdings of SSIs were placed
under producers’ cooperatives. At present government, SSIs are widely flourishing in the
country under the management of peasant farmers with the objective of increasing food self-
sufficiency and food security. This is because irrigated agriculture is considered to be at the
heart of ADLI and food security strategy of the Ethiopian smallholder farmers’

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