Smallholder irrigation taking root

USAID and Texas A&M team field visit to ILSSI sites in Ethiopia

USAID and Texas A&M team field visit to ILSSI sites in Ethiopia

By Desalegne Tadesse and Petra Schmitter

Smallholder irrigation taking root-2

Representatives of  USAID, Texas A&M, IWMI and ILRI visited the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Small-Scale Irrigation (ILSSI) project sites in Southern and Oromia regions of Ethiopia between 25-28 April 2016. The team consisted of Biniam Iyob (USAID), Neville Clarke (Texas A&M), Beverly McIntyre (IWMI), Petra Schmitter (IWMI), Gebrehaweria Gebregziabher (IWMI), Michael Blummel (ILRI), Abera Adie (ILRI) and local partners.

The objective was to provide USAID and Texas A&M with an overview of the interventions and experiments carried out by IWMI and ILRI under the ILSSI project. It was also hoped to explore possible synergies between the ILSSI, Africa RISING and LIVES projects in the Lemo and Angacha districts of Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR) and Adami Tulu in Oromia region.

Irrigation scheduling, using wetting front detectors, and water lifting technologies such as solar and motor pumps, and rope and washer systems were introduced by IWMI and Africa RISING to improve agricultural water management. They also contribute to improved fodder production implemented by ILRI under ILSSI.   The team met with local focal persons, champion farmers and students to assess progress. The interventions do appear to be having an impact, contributing to an increase in small scale irrigated crop production, including vegetables, for many households. Improvements to water lifting, conveyance, water storage and irrigation scheduling were all noted.

Smallholder irrigation taking root-1

Overall the team were encouraged by the synergies established between the three projects, particularly the attempt to address agricultural water management issues in holistic manner, including gender and market opportunities.

Texas A&M and IWMI subsequently met with the USAID mission to Ethiopia on 28 April for a debriefing and to discuss the activities of ILSSI to date.

The Feed the Future ILSSI is a cooperative research project that aims to increase food production, improve nutrition, protect the environment and accelerate economic development through improved access to small-scale irrigation technologies. IWMI leads research and engagement in the target countries, in partnership with the ILRI and IFPRI, with overall project leadership from Texas A & M University. The North Carolina Agriculture and Technology is also a partner on the project. National partners are carrying out research implementations. In Ethiopia, irrigation technologies are being implemented at four project sites (Koga, Dangla, Meki and Lemo).


Related Articles