Water-Wise: Smart Irrigation Strategies in ETHIOPIA



Ethiopia’s remarkable growth in irrigation expansion has largely been driven by the government’s commitment to comprehensive institutional innovations and targeted policy and programmatic interventions, as well as strong regulatory frameworks that govern irrigation and the use of water in agriculture.

Between 2002 and 2014, the area under irrigation in Ethiopia increased by almost 52 percent. In 2015, the estimated total area equipped for irrigation was 858,340 hectares (ha). In addition, around 1.1 million ha were estimated to be cultivated through farmer-led irrigation. The 2018 Biennial Review Report by the African Union revealed that Ethiopia is on track to meet Malabo Commitment area #3.1, “Access to agriculture inputs and technologies,” given its score of 6.03 out of 10, which vastly exceeds the 2017 minimum score of 5.53. Nevertheless, the share of arable land equipped for irrigation currently accounts for only about 5 percent, even though the economic potential for large- and small-scale irrigation development is very high. 

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