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“Better irrigation technology to better productivity…”

By Demoze Yekoye

Compiled and translated by Esubalew Dires


irrigation

The sector of agriculture in Ethiopia has been practiced without improved technologies and it’s highly dependent on rain for many years. For this reason, it’s challenging to ensure sustainable agricultural productivity and food security. The key secret behind countries’ strength of a sustained agricultural development is wise utilization of water resources and improved agricultural technologies. Hence, apart from securing food, farmers deliver raw materials to their industries. A few years ago, the government of Ethiopia has given weight budgeting better finance to soil and water conservation, irrigation and agricultural development activities. Several irrigation and hydropower dams are underway in the region and the country as a whole. According to research data, Ethiopia has a potential of 3.7 to 4.3 million hectares of irrigable land and only 7-10 % of it is utilized. Amhara region can potentially harvest 700 thousand hectares of land but only 90 thousand hectares or 12% is irrigated. 

Irrigation development projects are changing the attitude of farmers from considering it as a part time activity into regular agricultural system. Farmers’ who are skilled with traditional irrigation schemes are now making their first choice on modern irrigation structures. They have started maximizing the production and productivity of the region. Meanwhile, the government in the region is committed to build demand driven large and small scale irrigation schemes to use its irrigation potential.

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Organization for rehabilitation and Development in Amhara (ORDA) funded by the regional government is constructing irrigation schemes to benefit farmers and transform their livelihoods. In the last two consecutive years, ORDA is on the move in carrying out irrigation construction in different parts of the region mainly in areas where irrigation is not well expanded yet. Hence, the organization inaugurated three irrigation schemes namely: MUTIFECHA, WOSEN KORKUR and BETEHO in North Shewa and Oromia administrative zones. The schemes can potentially harvest 600 hectars of land and benefit over 2000 farmers in the area.

Ato Gedu Andargachew, the Amhara National Regional State president, while the official inauguration of schemes stated that since the areas are rainfed agriculturalists, they earned less production for longer years. The president reminded farmers to utilize the schemes wisely and boost their production. 

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Executive director of ORDA Dr. Amlaku Asres claimed that the inaugurated 3 schemes cost over 50 million birr and the organization is also carrying out the same irrigation projects for over 80 million birr in those two zones mentioned above. He added that the organization strives to achieve multisectoral targets of millennium development goals in natural resource (tree planting and improving of forest cover), water resource (hygiene and sanitation), food security and agricultural development programs. 

Head of ANRS Bureau of Water Ato Zemene Tsehay on his side remarked that the region is endowed with rich water resource and wide range of agroecologies and untapped farmland. Moreover, the sector is trying its best to change the traditional irrigation practice to modern technologies said Ato Zemen. 

 


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