Hill Publishing Group | contact@hillpublisher.com

Hill Publishing Group

Location:Home / Journals / International Journal of Food Science and Agriculture /


Small Scale Irrigation Farming Adoption as a Climate-Smart Agriculture Practice and Its Impact on Household Income in Ethiopia: A Review

Date: October 15,2021 |Hits: 505 Download PDF How to cite this paper

 Ibsa Dawid1,*, Sisay Workalemahu2, Abdi Hassen2

1Socio-Economics Research Team, Asella Agricultural Engineering Research Center, Oromia Agricultural Research Institute, P. O. Box 06, Asella, Ethiopia. 

2Department of Climate Smart Agriculture, Haramaya University, Haramaya, Oromia, Ethiopia.

*Corresponding author:  Ibsa Dawid


Small-scale irrigated farming has been offered as a climate-smart agriculture technology to boost production and diversify livelihood scenarios as an option to mitigate climate change and variability.  Small-scale irrigation as a climate-smart agriculture strategy is one of the most important adaptation options for increasing agricultural production in rural areas, stabilizing agricultural production and productivity, and mitigating the negative effects of variable or insufficient rainfall.  The reviewed literature showed that the adoption of small-scale irrigation farming as a climate-smart agriculture practice has a significant positive influence on farming income.  Small-scale irrigation practice increases the adaptive capacity of households by enhancing farm income.  Small-scale irrigation users are better off in crop production that enhances household income and enables buffer against climate variability compared with non-users.  Small-scale irrigation is an important strategy in reducing risks associated with both rainfall variability production of different crops twice or three times within a year and increasing income of rural farm-households.  Farmers’ age, distance to market, and formal employment all negatively influence small-scale irrigation adoption.  Off-farm employment, irrigation equipment, access to reliable water supplies, and awareness of water conservation practices all positively promote Small-scale irrigation adoption.  As a result, governments and other key stakeholders should consider strengthening small-scale irrigated farming in rural families as climate smart agriculture.


[1] Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). (2017). Climate-smart agriculture sourcebook. Rome, Italy.

[2] Burney, J. A. and Naylor, R. L. (2012). Smallholder Irrigation as a Poverty Alleviation Tool in Sub-Saharan Africa. World Development, 40(1): 110-123. doi:10.1016/j.worlddev.2011.05.007.

[3] Conway, G., Waage, J., and Delaney, S. (2010). Science and Innovation for Development; UK Collaborative on Development Sciences (UKCDS). London.

[4] FAO. (2013). Sourcebook on Climate Smart Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (Rome, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

[5] Tadesse Alemu and Alemayehu Mengistu. (2017). Impacts of Climate Change on Food Security and its Adaptation and Mitigation Options in Ethiopia: A Review. Influence of El Niño on Biodiversity, Agriculture, and Food Security, 23-24 February 2017, Haramaya University, Ethiopia: 75.

[6] Kiros Hadgu, Badege Bishaw, I. Miyuki, B. Emiru, AkliluNegussie, et al. (2019). Climate-Smart Agriculture: Enhancing Resilient Agricultural Systems, Landscapes, and Livelihoods in Ethiopia and Beyond. Editors. World Agroforestry (ICRAF), Nairobi, Kenya. 

[7] Westermann, O., Thornton, P. K., and Förchs, W. (2015). Reaching more farmers: innovative approaches to scaling up climate-smart agriculture.

[8] Thornton, P. K., Rosenstock, T., Förch, W., Lamanna, C., Bell, et al. (2018). A qualitative evaluation of CSA options in mixed crop-livestock systems in developing countries. In: Climate Smart Agriculture. Springer, Cham: pp. 385-423.

[9] Temesgen Hirko, Mengistu Ketema, and Fekadu Beyen. (2018). Participation in small-scale irrigation practice: The Case of Abay Chomen District of Oromia, Ethiopia. International Journal of Agricultural Economics, 3(6): 135-144.

[10] Hamda Tulu. (2014). The Effects of Small-Scale Irrigation on Rural Households’ income: The Case of Adami Tulu Jido Kombolcha District, Oromia Regional State. 

[11] Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). (2014). FAO success stories on climate-smart agriculture. 

[12] Mango, N., Makate, C., Lulseged Tamene, Mponela, P., and Ndengu, G. (2018). Adoption of small-scale irrigation farming as a climate-smart agriculture practice and its influence on household income in the Chinyanja Triangle, Southern Africa. Land, 7(2): 49.

[13] Kalkidan, F., Yemiru, T., and Ephrem, T. (2016). Gender dynamics in small-scale irrigation agriculture among smallholder farmers in Lume district in the central RV, Ethiopia. 

[14] Belay, K., Samson, E., Belayneh, B., Degeye, G., and Demeksa, T., et al. (2010). Income diversification through improved irrigation in Ethiopia influences, constraints and prospects for poverty reduction evidence from E/Harerghe. Oromia, Ethiopia.

[15] Makombe, G., Namara, R. E., Awulachew, S. B., Hagos, F., Ayana, M., and Kanjere, M. (2017). An analysis of the productivity and technical efficiency of smallholder irrigation in Ethiopia. Water SA, 43(1): 48-57.

[16] Lefore, N., Giordano, M. A., Ringler, C., and Barron, J. (2019). Sustainable and equitable growth in farmer-led irrigation in sub-Saharan Africa: what will it take? Water Alternatives.

[17] Otoo, M., Lefore, N., Schmitter, P., Barron, J., and Gebregziabher, G. (2018). Business model scenarios and suitability: Small-holder solar pump-based irrigation in Ethiopia.

[18] Zilberman, D., Zhao, J., and Heiman, A. (2012). Adoption versus adaptation, with emphasis on climate change. Annu. Rev. Resour. Econ.,4(1): 27-53.

[19] Feder, G., Just, R. E., and Zilberman, D. (1985). Adoption of agricultural innovations in developing countries: A survey. Economic Development and Cultural Change, 33(2).

[20] Steen Werth, K. L., Hodson, A. K., Bloom, A. J., Carter, M. R., Cattaneo, et al. (2014). Climate-smart agriculture global research agenda: scientific basis for action. Agriculture & Food Security, 3(1): 11.

[21] Lipper, L. and Zilberman, D. (2018). A short history of the evolution of the climate smart agriculture approach and its Links to climate change and sustainable agriculture debates. In Climate Smart Agriculture, 13-30. 

[22] Neufeldt, H., Jahn, M., Campbell, B. M., Beddington, J. R., DeClerck, et al. (2013). Beyond climate-smart agriculture: toward safe operating spaces for global food systems. Agriculture & Food Security, 2(1): 12. 

[23] Abdissa Feyra, Tesema Gemechu, and Yirga Chilot. (2017). Impact analysis of small-scale irrigation schemes on household food security the case of Sibu Sire District in Western Oromia, Ethiopia. Irrigation Drainage System Engineering, (6): 1-7.

[24] Adugna Eneyew, Ermias Alemu, Mekonnen Ayana, and Mihret Dananto. (2014). The role of small-scale irrigation in poverty reduction. Journal of Development and Agricultural Economics, 6(1): 12-21. 

[25] Belay Mehretie and Woldeamlak Bewket. (2013). Traditional Irrigation and Water Management Practices in Highland Ethiopia: Case Study in Dangila Woreda. Irrigation and Drainage, 62: 435-448. 

[26] Eshetu Tefera and Cho, Y. (2017). Contribution of small-scale irrigation to households’ income and food security: Evidence from Ketar irrigation scheme, Arsi Zone, Oromia Region, Ethiopia. African Journal of Business Management, 11(3): 57-68.

[27] Kalkidan Fikirie and Tewodros Mulualem. (2017). Review on the role of small-scale irrigation agriculture on poverty alleviation in Ethiopia. North Asian International Research Journal of Multidisciplinary, 3(6): 19.

[28] Daniel, Z. (2015). The impact of irrigation schemes on farmers’ income and livelihoods in the upper east region of Ghana (Doctoral dissertation, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology).

[29] Jirane and Abera Ifa. (2015). “Determinants of Use of Small scale Irrigation and its Effect on Household food Security: The case of BakoTibe Woreda, West Shoa, Ehiopia”. Academia Journal of Agricultural Research, 3(10): 264-269.

[30] Dereje Mengistie and Dessale Kidane. (2016). “Assessment of the Impact of Small Scale Irrigation on household livelihood improvement at GubaLafto”. International Journal of Business and Economics Research, 4(4): 217-228.

[31] Woldegebrial Zeweld, Huylenbroeck, G. V., Hidgot, A., Chandrakanth, M. G., and Speelman, S. (2015). Adoption of Small-Scale Irrigation and Its Livelihood Impacts in Northern Ethiopia. Irrigation and Drainage, 64(5): 655-668.

[32] Schipper, L., Liu, W., Krawanchid, D., and Chanthy, S. (2010). Review of climate change adaptation methods and tools. MRC Technical Paper No. 34, Mekong River Commission, Vientiane.

[33] Woldeamlak Bewket, Radeny, M., and Mungai, C. (2015). Agricultural Adaptation and Institutional Responses to Climate Change Vulnerability in Ethiopia. CCAFS Working Paper no. 106. CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). Copenhagen, Denmark.

[34] Dereje Bacha, Regassa Namara, Ayalneh Bogale, and Abonesh Tesfaye. (2011). Impact of small-scale irrigation on household poverty: empirical evidence from the Ambo district in Ethiopia. Irrigation and Drainage, 60(1): 1-10. DOI: 10.1002/ird.550. 

[35] Abebe Tilahun A. (2019). The Role of Small-Scale Irrigation in Climate Change Adaptation: The Case of East Belesa District, Amhara Region, Ethiopia. MSc Thesis, Hawassa University, Wondogenet, Ethiopia.

[36] Kalkidan, F., Yemiru, T., and Ephrem, T. (2017). Challenges in women-managed small-scale irrigation practices: The case of Lume district, central rift valley of Ethiopia. World Research Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 3(1): 054-059.

[37] Mamo Esayas Ambe. (2018). “Determinants of The performance of small scale irrigation in improving household farm income in Hadiya zone, Ethiopia”. Journal of Development and Agricultural Economics, 9(2): 81-62.

[38] Chazovachii, B. (2012). The impact of small-scale irrigation schemes on rural livelihoods: the case of Panganai Irrigation Scheme Bikita District Zimbabwe. Journal of Sustainable Development in Africa, 14(4): 217-231.

[39] Kinfe, A., Chilot, Y., and Sundara, R. (2011). Effect of small-scale irrigation on the income of rural farm households: the case of Laelay Maichew District, C Tigray, Ethiopia. Journal of Stored Products and Postharvest Research, 2(10): 208-215.

[40] Getaneh Ayele. (2011). The impact of selected small-scale irrigation schemes on household income and the likelihood of poverty in the Lake Tana basin of Ethiopia. Cornell University, USA. 

[41] Tucker, J. and Yirgu, L. (2010). Small-Scale Irrigation in the Ethiopian Highlands: What Potential for Poverty Reduction and Climate Adaptation: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

[42] Eneyew, A., Alemu, E., Ayana, M., and Dananto, M. (2014). The role of small-scale irrigation in poverty reduction. J. Dev. Agric. Econ., (6): 12-21.

[43] Kidane, D., Mekonnen, A., and Teketay, D. (2014). Contributions of Tendaho Irrigation Project to the improvement of livelihood of Agro pastoralists in the Lower Awash Basin, Northeastern Ethiopia. Ethiop. J. Res. Innov. Foresight, 6: 1-19.

[44] Getacher, T., Mesfin, A., and Gebre-Egziabher, G. (2014). Adoption and impacts of an irrigation technology: Evidence from household-level data in Tigray, Northern Ethiopia. Univ. J. Agric. Res., (1): 30-34.

[45] Diao, X., Hazell, P., and Thurlow, J. (2010). The role of agriculture in African development. World Dev., 2010, (38): 1375-1383. [CrossRef]

[46] Goitom, G. (2020). The Contribution of Small-Scale Irrigation on the Livelihood of Small Holder Farmers, the Case of Mereb-Leke Woreda, Central Zone, Tigray, Ethiopia. 

[47] Gadisa Muleta and Gebrerufael Girmay. (2021). The impact of small-scale irrigation on household income in central Ethiopia: Empirical evidences from Walmara district. International Journal of Agriculture and Biosciences, (June).

[48] Demsew Mengistie and Ermias Debie. (2020). Determinants of Small-Scale Irrigation Practices in Geray Irrigation Scheme, Northwest Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Journal of Social Sciences, 6(2): December 2020.

[49] Agerie Nega. (2016). Determinants of smallholder rural farm households’ participation in small-scale irrigation and its effect on income in North Gonder zone Amahara Regional State, Ethiopia. International Journal of Innovative Research and Development, 5(6): 592-601.

[50] Sesen, H. G. (2013). The Impact of Community Managed Irrigation on Household Income and Poverty Reduction: The Case of Sehartisamre Wereda, Tigray, Ethiopia.

[51] Muez, H. A. (2014). The Impact of Small-Scale Irrigation on Rural household Food Security. The case of Emba Alaje woreda (Doct dissertation, Mekelle University).

[52] Ayana Anteneh. (2016). Assessing the impact of small-scale irrigation schemes on household income in Bahir Dar Zuria Woreda, Ethiopia. Journal of Economics and Sustainable Development, 7(21): 82-86.

[53] Seid, A. M. (2016). The impact of small-scale irrigation on crop production and income of households: the case of north Achefer woreda, Amhara regional state. Ethiopia Journal of Poverty, Investment and Development, Vol. 30: 2016.

[54] Leta Legesse. (2018). Impact of Small-Scale Irrigation on Household Farm Income and Asset Holding: Evidence from Shebedino District, Southern Ethiopia. Journal of Resources Development and Management, 43: 1-8. 

[55] Dillon, A. (2011). The effect of irrigation on poverty reduction, asset accumulation, and informal insurance: evidence from Northern Mali. World Development, 39(12).

[56] Fanadzo, M. (2012). Revitalization of smallholder irrigation schemes for poverty alleviation and household food security in South Africa: a review. African Journal of Agricultural Research, 7(13): 1956-1969.

How to cite this paper

Small Scale Irrigation Farming Adoption as a Climate-Smart Agriculture Practice and Its Impact on Household Income in Ethiopia: A Review

How to cite this paper:   Ibsa Dawid, Sisay Workalemahu, Abdi Hassen. (2021) Small Scale Irrigation Farming Adoption as a Climate-Smart Agriculture Practice and Its Impact on Household Income in Ethiopia: A ReviewInternational Journal of Food Science and Agriculture5(4), 584-591.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.26855/ijfsa.2021.12.004

Volumes & Issues

Free HPG Newsletters

Add your e-mail address to receive free newsletters from Hill Publishing Group.

Contact us

Hill Publishing Group

8825 53rd Ave

Elmhurst, NY 11373, USA

E-mail: contact@hillpublisher.com

Copyright © 2019 Hill Publishing Group Inc. All Rights Reserved.