MaMo Webinar Series : How can Africa achieve an agricultural transformation through smart irrigation strategies?


 Mamo Webinar

https://www.mamopanel.org/media/uploads/files/January_2019_webinar-2_2ZeGDg9.jpgHow can Africa achieve an agricultural transformation through smart irrigation strategies?
Discussion of lessons from Ethiopia's policy and program interventions.

The webinar was held online and in English on February 14, 2019 from 10 - 12 AM UTC Time.

Participants joined through the link provided below.


Zena Habtewold Biru

Director of the Planning-Monitoring and Evaluation Directorate at the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) of Ethiopia, and Focal Person for the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Program (CAADP)


Dr. Ousmane Badiane

Africa Director for the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and co-Chair of the Malabo Montpellier Panel

Watch the webinar here

 FEB 14 MaMo Webinar


Africa is seeing a surge of interest in irrigation among small-scale farmers as climate change brings more erratic weather. Currently, only 6 percent of arable land in Africa is irrigated, compared to 14 and 37 percent in Latin America and Asia respectively. At the same time, a growing population across the continent demands more, reliable and continuous supply of food. It is estimated that without additional investment in irrigation, the share of people at risk of hunger could increase by 5 percent by 2030 and 12 percent by 2050. Elevating irrigation to a top policy priority and bringing irrigation to scale could help ensure the continent’s food security in the face of more extreme weather conditions and be an engine of agricultural transformation.

The Malabo Montpellier Panel’s report, Water-Wise: Smart Irrigation Strategies for Africa, summarizes the key findings of a systematic analysis of what six African countries at the forefront of progress on irrigation have done right. The report has identified a set of policies and practices which, if brought to scale, could significantly improve the resilience and livelihoods of rural communities and spur overall agricultural growth and transformation in Africa. The report reviews traditional and new, innovative small-scale and large-scale irrigation approaches and technologies that have been implemented in Africa, followed by an analysis of the experiences of six African countries - Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Morocco, Niger and South Africa that have been particularly innovative and successful in terms of their institutional and policy design for irrigation.

 Ethiopia’s remarkable growth in irrigation expansion

 The Ethiopian irrigation success story will be the focus of this webinar to understand where progress has been achieved and what can be replicated in other African countries.

The guest speaker was Mr. Zena Habtewold Biru, Director of the Planning Monitoring and Evaluation Directorate at the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) and Focal Person for the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Program (CAADP).  Mr Biru discussed the case of Ethiopia’s remarkable growth in irrigation expansion over the last years, and the concrete practical steps that the government took to become one of the leading African countries in terms of agricultural irrigation, thereby reducing unemployment, poverty rate and malnutrition.

Between 2002 and 2014, irrigated land in Ethiopia increased by almost 52 percent. In 2015, the estimated total area equipped for irrigation was of 858,340 hectares (ha). In addition to that, 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.

During this seminar Mr. Zena Habtewold Biru discussed the following questions:

What did Ethiopia do differently?
What are the main institutional innovations?
What are the key policy measures?
What are the country’s major programs and interventions?
How and what did it take to mobilize the government to uptake strong regulatory frameworks that govern irrigation and the use of water in agriculture?
What are the practical lessons for other Africans to learn from and to adapt to the context of their own countries?
This webinar was of great interest to practitioners from ministries, government agencies, institutions, research analysts and students interested in understanding the work of governments, civil society, and the private sector in tackling some of the biggest challenges facing African countries.