M a r k e t N e w s

Ethiopia: Effective Irrigation Dev't to Boost Production, Productivity

Posted on : Saturday, 27th August 2016

 Agriculturalists frequently indicate that irrigation development can be taken as one of the prominent ways to ensure food security and increase productivity. As irrigation can be considered as an agricultural technique to utilize water gained from rain and wells for farming, currently the use of irrigation in Ethiopia has become common and growing from time to time.

 
Ministry of Farming and Natural Resource Irrigation Drainage Researcher Tilahun Hordofa said that though irrigation could assist to withstand drought and food insecurity due to climate change and related disasters, the development of irrigation has become the prominent policy direction of the government.
 
Although the government has been working on irrigation aggressively, most of the farms have been losing their soil and fertility due to lack of awareness on the past of farmers, Tilahun noted.
 
Lacking of proper knowledge on utilizing water for irrigation, farmers used to track the water to the farms excessively. Thus, if excessive water entered into the farm, it would erode the soil, expose the minerals to wipe out, and destroy the harvest.
 
Ministry Irrigation and Drainage Mechanic Amerga Kersie on his part said though irrigation is mainly used to harvest maize, onion, tomato, green pepper, salad, and lettuce, it could also be used to harvest fruit.
 
Amerga also said that giving prime attention to irrigation, the government has been working aggressively to produce fruit and major crops, and enable the sector get out of dependency from rain water. In doing so, several irrigated farm lands are becoming glutted with water due to lack of adequate perception among farmers, he added.
 
This would bring negative consequences such as the increment of water scarcity, the drying up of crops, the growth of soil saltiness, decrease in soil fertility and destruction of fertile lands, among others.
 
Citing Afar and Somali states as the major devastated areas for over flooding canals, it is significant to wash out the saltiness of the soil, he said. Though the price of washing saltiness is expensive, it has become difficult to treat the soil, Amerga added.
 
Therefore, Amerga said that it is indispensable to undertake proper use of irrigation methods with a concerted effort, before expending huge finance to rehabilitate the degraded soil.
 
"Unless practicing irrigation techniques according to soil types, kinds of fruits and vegetables, and the amount of water, irrigation should not be a wise choice," he stressed.
 
Amerga also said farmers need to consult agricultural professionals rather than tracking much water into their farm lands.
 
South Gondar Zone Agriculture Bureau Vegetables And Fruits Irrigation Professional Enye Assefa on her part said that one of the major gaps in modernizing irrigation development and enhancing productivity is with the farmers in releasing glutted water into the farms.
 
Among the ten woredas supported by professionals in the zone, Derra, Fogerra, and Limmo have potential irrigation capacity yet they could not increase productivity through pumping modern irrigation techniques.
 
On the other hand, Oromia Irrigation Development Authority Vegetables and Fruits Irrigation Professional Roman Negeri said that as the overflow of water in the farm causes scarcity of water resource, it will also expose crops for water-borne disease (Damping). This would let farmers to go for nothing after spending huge amount of money, she added.
 
Of the 18 woredas in the zone, West and East Wellega, Horo Guduru and Jimma were some of the areas that faced difficulty due to over flooding of canals.
 
Roman also said that the state administration has been working on providing practical training to farmers along with continuous support and follow up to bring radical change in irrigation schemes.
 
According to the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electric, about 5.3 million hectares of land could be developed through irrigation. Hence, to exploit such untapped resource effectively would enable to increase production in quantity and quality.
 
So, proper implementation of irrigation schemes would help to withstand natural phenomena and ensure food security at household and national level as well.

Source : allafrica.com
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